Jeff Scott Soto has had a pretty productive career so far. Off the top of my head he's been involved in the following bands over the years - Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force, Eyes, Talisman, Axel Rudi Pell, Takara, Human Clay, and Humanimal, plus a few others, and of course his own on again/off again solo career. He even lent his voice to the soundtrack of the 2001 movie, “Rock Star” (starring Mark Wahlberg). Recently Soto joined forces with Neal Schon of Journey, and along with bassist Marco Mendoza (Blue Murder, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake) and drummer extraordinaire Virgil Donati (Ring of Fire, Southern Sons), they've formed new “super-group”, Soul SirkUS.
“Lost In the Translation” is Soto's latest solo album out on Frontiers Records . After the release of his last solo album, the superb “Prism” (2002), there would be a lot to live up to.
So does it?
I'd have to say yes and no. “Prism” was a very strong album that focused on the AOR sound with some harder rock mixed in. While “Lost in the Translation” is more of the same, it may rock just a little bit harder overall. The album opens with “Believe in Me,” which is possibly the strongest track on the album. It was co-written with Neal Schon and he even plays guitar on it. The track is a classic AOR anthem that sounds like the perfect combination of Journey and Soto's early 90's band, Eyes. “Soul Divine” kicks in with some heavy guitar riffing but makes way for some smooth, melodic singing. The song features a great solo from guitarist Howie Simon. “Drowning” might be the most aggressive track on the album, again it features a heavy guitar riff throughout, but the chorus is still very melodic. Next track, “If This Is the End” slows things down in typical power ballad fashion. Soto's passionate vocals are suited perfectly for this kind of song. Title track, “Lost in the Translation” gets things cranking again. Not a classic track by any means but done well none-the-less. “Doin' Time” kind of suffers the same fate as the previous track. It prods along but never seems to get going. It should be mentioned though that there is some really good guitar work done during the solo. “High Time” brings things back up to speed. The song is more upbeat than the previous two tracks and has a nice sing-along chorus. The ballad “Beginning 2 End” is another strong track that benefits from the passionate Soto vocal. The track “Find Your Way” is a great rocking song with a guitar solo that for some reason reminds me of the great John Sykes (Whitesnake, Blue Murder, Thin Lizzy)! The acoustic track, “Sacred Eyes” is a nice change of pace for the album. The disc ends with the “bonus track”, “Dulce Lady” and is very reminiscent of the mid to latter day Talisman material that Soto has been involved with. So is this the best solo album Soto has released to date? I would have to say probably. Not every track is a classic but the album does have a few and some others are very strong. If you're a fan of any of Soto's past bands and efforts then you will enjoy “Lost in the Translation.” If you're just a fan of flat-out melodic hard rock with some AOR moments and some killer guitar playing than you will like this album too.
Jeff Scott Soto – Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
Howie Simon – Guitars, Bass
Glen Sobel – Drums
Gary Schutt – Guitars (on “High Time” & “Sacred Eyes”)
Alex Llorens – Guitars (on “Beginning 2 End”)
Neal Schon – Guitars (on “Believe In Me”)
- Believe In Me
- Soul Divine
- If This Is the End
- Lost In the Translation
- Doin' Time
- High Time
- Beginning 2 End
- On My Own
- Find Our Way
- Sacred Eyes
- Dulce Lady (bonus track)
If This Is the End (enhanced CD video)