Released By : Frontiers Records
Genre : Melodic Rock
Link : http://www.jimijamison.com/
01. Everybody’s Got A Broken Heart
02. The Great Unknown
03. Never Too Late
04. I Can’t Turn Back
05. Street Survivor
06. The Air I Breathe
07. Not Tonight
08. Calling The Game
09. Bullet In The Gun
10. Heaven Call Your Name
11. Walk On (Wildest Dreams)
While ex-SURVIVOR alumni Jimi Jamison was working on the Kimball/Jamison project album than was released last year he ended up creating a great working relationship with AOR mastermind and songwriter extraordinaire Erik Martensson (W.E.T, ECLIPSE). Eventually the two of them begun working on songs together and it didn’t take long for the head-honchos over at Frontiers records to realize that they needed to get these guys together in an official capacity as soon as possible. Jimi Jamison’s previous solo album CROSSROADS MOMENT found him re-linked with Jim Peterik and the songs that came out of that session made for a fantastic album that harkened back to the AOR powerhouses of the early eighties, when these two guys ruled the airwaves. This latest release, written with Martensson instead of Peterik is a different beast all-together.
The most noticeable difference is in the heaviness of this new album. Jimi’s previous solo album was designed to sound like it was created in the eighties, but NEVER TOO LATE has a much more modern melodic hard rock feel to it in most places, and that bombastic, crunchy guitar sound that has permeated from bands like ECLIPSE, JSS and JORN is here too. This is both a good thing and a bad thing… The positive side of things is that it keeps Jamison relevant and updated like a lot of the edgier sounding melodic rock based bands on the Frontiers label these days. On the other hand though, it does give the album a bit too much of a common feel. Jamison deserves to stand-out from the crowd, he’s an AOR god no doubt about it, but this edgier and heavier sound doesn’t suit him anywhere near as well the Peterik style of songwriting does.
Opener EVERYBODY’S GOT A BROKEN HEART starts the album off right into that modern day AOR groove and actually sounds like either WORK OF ART or W.E.T, but the chorus is pure JOURNEY. THE GREAT UNKNOWN is a well written song and has plenty of balls about it, but I have a hard time distinguishing this as Jimi Jamison. NEVER TOO LATE is more along the lines of Jim Peterik kind of song and Jamison sounds much more natural and comfortable here. I CAN’T TURN BACK is the first real album highlight and features more of a classic AOR sound, it would have been even better if the keyboards were turned up a little louder and some of the gain was removed from the guitar effects. Ahh…that’s were the keyboards were, all over the intro to STREET SURVIVOR, and a Hammond style organ too. Once this one gets going it’s actually like a slightly edgier take on the classic SURVIVOR sound, I like this one a lot. THE AIR THAT I BREATHE is the big power ballad of the album, and while stylistically this is more the direction that suits Jamison, the lyrics here are a little too tacky for me personally. NOT TONIGHT features some really nice backing vocals and the Keyboard almost has a hi-tech AOR sound to it, a very solid mid-paced groover. CALLING THE GAME sounds so much like a Joe Lynn Turner track that I wonder whether he wrote it…Oddly enough Jimi actually sounds a lot like JLT here too. BULLET IN THE GUN is a little bit of a flat spot unfortunately. It’s not a bad song, but it really seems to take too long to get to the end of it. HEAVEN CALL YOUR NAME is a very special track and easily one of the highlights of the album. A haunting and deep lyric about longing for somebody dearly departed from this world. Jimi really gives it his all here and the combination of gospel-style backing vocals and a church organ really help to set a scene. Closer WALK ON (WILDEST DREAM) is a decent enough track but fails to live up to the heights set by the previous number which simply offered so much more.
Look, NEVER TOO LATE is a good album, and those of you who prefer the edgier and heavier produced modern take on the classic AOR/Melodic Rock sound will no doubt love this. For me personally however I much prefer hearing Jimi Jamison in his classic sounding element. His voice is sounding almost as good as ever, but it really seems to get lost in the mire on this album a little too often. Mr. Jamison, Please work on your next solo album with Jim Peterik…He just gets you so much more than Erik Martensson seems to.
Written By ZeeZee
Rating : 7/10