Boston - Life, Love & Hope (Frontiers Records)

We waited ten years for this?
Release Date: 
5 Dec 2013 - 11:30pm

Jeebs this is a frustrating album… AOR Gods Boston (or more accurately AOR God Tom Scholz, who does most everything on this album save for some of the vocalising – of which more later) have founded their reputation over nearly forty years of releasing records as a technology embracing, forward-thinking outfit who, with bands such as Kansas and Journey defined the sound of pomp rock and AOR in the seventies and eighties. Their records always sounded so lush, the cascades of harmonies that epitomised worldwide hits like More Than a Feeling sounding like nothing so much as the Beach Boys brandishing guitars set to stun and lodging a place in our hearts and minds forever with their shimmering, perfect brilliance…

That being the case,  why does so much of LL&H sound half-arsed, or worse, carelessly tossed off? Be warned - listening to this album, as a long term fan, might do serious damage to your health and sanity. Every song has something going for it, be it a trademark wall of guitar overkill from Scholz, or spine tingling vocals (almost always from long time Boston contributor Brad Delp) or even a More Than a Feeling-style fusillade of handclaps that’ll bring a smile to the dial no doubt about it; On the excellent Someone (2.0) all these pieces fit together in rapturous, glorious style to give the album its standout track. But equally every song sounds half finished, or of demo quality (astounding this given Scholz’ history of studio brilliance and the ten year gestation period the album underwent), with tracks ending abruptly, cutting off before they have the chance to end gracefully, or just generally sounding like rough mixes. 

This is a real shame, because songs like the aforementioned Someone (2.0), You Gave Up on Love (2.0) and The Way You Look Tonight deserve to take their place in the Boston canon of classics alongside the glory of …Feeling and A Man I’ll Never Be; However given their current rendering, it’s hard to see them taking up residence anywhere other than the file marked ‘what might have been’… Very disappointing.