Thursday, 16 May 2019

Journey - Journey (1975)

To play some music....


Released April 1975

This is the debut album by Journey, erstwhile stadium rockers-to-be. This is nothing like the output of the later, famous incarnation of the group. The group here contains Santana refugees Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie and respected session drummer Aynsley Dunbar of David Bowie's "Pin Ups", Lou Reed's "Berlin" and Ian Hunter's "All American Alien Boy" fame. He also drummed with The Jeff Beck Group. It is a sort of prog rock meets jazzy experimentation sort of thing, with some heavy rock bits here and there. It is not bad in places, but it ultimately suffers for not really knowing what it really is, or where it is going. It is not proggy enough for the hippies, not heavy enough for the rockers and not jazzy enough for the jazz rockers either. The cover's sub-Yes style is awful too.


1. Of A Lifetime
2. In The Morning Day
3. Kohoutek
4. To Play Some Music
5. Topaz
6. In My Lonely Feeling/Conversations
7. Mystery Mountain                                        

"Of A Lifetime" has a lengthy, grandiose guitar intro and some suitably haughty proggy-style vocals, it never really gets anywhere but is pleasant enough, with some great guitar at the end. "In The Morning Day" is a laid-back rock ballad that suffers from a muffled production. It has some kicking heavy parts in the middle and some superb drumming, together with some Deep Purple-esque swirling organ. "Kohoutek" has some Led Zeppelin-influenced keyboard parts and overall has some impressive guitar and drum parts in its instrumentation (there are no vocals). It rocks pretty solidly, to be fair to it, but without ever achieving too much I guess. It does sound a bit like an extended jam session, albeit a very good one.

"To Play Some Music" is more proggy in its rock structure. It has vocals but they aren't great and the whole sound is a bit of a mish-mash. It seems like the ex-Santana members have brought with them some of that group's sound but left behind the Latin bits, to the detriment of the offerings here. "Topaz" is the closest thing to a Santana sound here, featuring some searing guitar, excellent percussion and some vaguely Latin, space jazz sounds. a lovely rhythmic bass line underpins it as well. It is probably the album's best cut, for me. "In My Lonely Feeling" is typical big, thumping heavy rock balladry, but without any discernable hook. Its instrumental passages, presumably "Conversations" are nice though, with some Gary Moore meets Jeff Beck-type guitar soloing. "Mystery Mountain" is a powerful drum and organ-driven closer to this short album with some more indistinct vocals. The track reminds me of early Mott The Hoople in some ways. Some more good guitar is to be found on this one.

Look, this is an ok way to spend half an hour and, while for some reason I am not quite sure of, I own the album, I don't think I will be hurrying to play it on a regular basis.


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