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Revelation (Frontiers)

Wednesday, Jul 9 2008

The members of Journey must be feeling its name is more apt than ever these days. It's unlikely any band (Bay Area or otherwise) has as thoroughly modern and convoluted a resurgence story as these AOR mainstays pulled back into public consciousness by HBO and YouTube. Since the 1996 departure of lead singer Steve Perry, Journey has gone through two frontmen, plucking its latest vocalist off the Internet via the Philippines. Arnel Pineda jumped into performing and then recorded Journey's first album since 2005, an independently released Wal-Mart exclusive featuring 11 originals and 11 rerecorded greatest hits plus a live 2008 concert DVD. The resulting Revelation may not be classic, but it sure is a class act, beginning with the opening cheap-seats rouser "Never Walk Away." The song instantly reminds listeners how starry-eyed solos riding harmonic cascades can spark fond memories of top-down cruisin', tops-off fondlin', or the Beverly Hills 90210 theme. Journey exists for our perpetual adolescence. For all themes of lovemakin' ("After All These Years," a ballad descended from "Open Arms") and heartbreakin' ("Where Did I Lose Your Love"), this will never be grown-up music; it's growing-up music, chock-full and schlock-full of progressive fills tickling the nostalgia bone. "Wildest Dreams" is a fist-pumper for 40-year-olds and their 14-year-olds. And with his Perrylike yet personally feathered notes drawn out a little more than up, Pineda seems poised to grow as well. Journey fans shouldn't stop believin'.

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Tony Ware


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