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Soleil Moon: On The Way To Everything

AOR. It's old, tired, all been done before and dead a as donut, isn't it? Not even bloody slightly, if the returning duo of Larry King and John Blasucci have anything to say about it! With their second album - and first Soleil Moon offering for over a decade - On The Way To Everything, being one of those releases that reignites the passion and fire for a genre that has offered up a succession of tired retreads for far too long. King is also currently the singer with the Michael Thompson Band, while Blasucci is one of those characters who can list a huge array of musical collaborators (Dennis DeYoung, Richard Marx, Michael Bolton among others), while being safe in the knowledge that he could walk down the street unimpeded. The pair first came together way back in 1994, with the debut Soleil Moon album Worlds Apart seeing the light of the moon six years later. The album was lauded on its release, but of course for AOR in the year 2000, that meant little in terms of sales or success, something that has little doubt delayed this second offering for a dozen or so years...

I haven't been fortunate enough to experience Worlds Apart, but with the fact that those in the know say that it slightly betters On The Way To Everything, I have to hear it, as there really is little room for improvement on this second helping of Soleil Moon. King's vocals are sublime, combining hints of Bob Catley (Magnum) with Richard Page (Mr Mister), by way of an impressive range and much power. While keyboard maestro Blasucci provides constantly shifting atmospheres and all other manner of shimmering delights that add class and sheen to an album that positively glistens and glows with poise and melody. As with the debut album, the pair are augmented by top quality musicians to make their dream reality, with Michael Thompson, Gerey Johnson, Chris Siebold and Craig Bauer providing guitar, Richard Patterson, Leland Sklar, Dave Hiltebrand and Steven Rodby banging out the bass, while Vinnie Colaiuta, Khari Parker and Tom Hipskind share drum duties. However no matter the line-up on whichever track, it is the songwriting that stands tall and proud, taking a genre that has been presented and re-presented time and again and making it sound fresh, relevant and vibrant while staying true to its roots. "History Repeats Its Pages" makes a mighty entrance, combining beautiful keyboard sounds and effects to strumming acoustic guitar, King's stunning voice impressing throughout, before exploding into a deliberate, yet forceful melody that builds and builds into a song that comes from the heart and reaches for the sky. Whereas it is the guitar melody on "Love The Way You Love" which beguiles and seduces passionately, while "On The Way To Everything" combines a little Bruce Hornsby like piano work with the most killer of killer choruses.

I could go on to tell you how "Burn" is a stunningly atmospheric instrumental collision of riffs and keyboards. That "Move On" is the most convincing Magnum lighter waver Magnum didn't write, or that the stunning, poignant "Goodnight Irene" is the best piano and voice ballad I've heard for years. However it's simply easier to say that not one of the eleven main tracks, or three bonus cuts on this album, dip below being something special. Add to that a straight but wonderful cover of the Beatles classic "Blackbird" and not only do Soleil Moon offer up a brand of AOR seldom seen these days, they offer up a whole host of different AOR brands that are seldom matched these days, or indeed for many days prior.

Much in the way that Vanden Plas and their The Seraphic Clockwork album reignited my long lost passion for prog metal in a way I never thought possible these days, so Soleil Moon and On The Way To Everything have made me believe that AOR can once again have a strong voice that has something important and vibrant to say. Personally I just can't stop listening to its message.

Track Listing
1. History Repeats It's Pages
2. Love the Way You Love
3. On the Way To Everything
4. Blackbird
5. Goodnight Irene
6. Freedom
7. Burn
8. Down
9. Colorado
10. Move On
11. Here I Am
12. Ohio (Bonus Track)
13. Calling on the World (Bonus Track)
14. I'd Die For You (Bonus Track)

Added: December 7th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Frontires Records
Hits: 1929
Language: english

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