Inside Out www.insideoutmusic.de [Released 18.08.14]
Neal Morse is back with a new solo album, however don’t go expecting something like his previous solo albums namely catchy melodic/progressive rock. This album has more in common with the albums from the likes of Jackson Browne, Graham Nash and classic 70’s West Coast music. The title refers to the month when he hit a creative purple patch and wrote these songs.
‘Whatever Days’ sums the album up nicely, having an upbeat lyric (interestingly I’d say lyrically this is Morse’s least Christian themed album), exemplary musicianship and a very tasty use of sax. Morse has always been good at the ballads and the gospel tinged ‘Heaven’s Smiling’ is simply divine.
‘Flowers In A Vase’ sounds like a classic 70’s West Coast/country song and the vocals of guest Eric Gillette blend nicely with Morse’s, creating a CSN vibe on the chorus. CSN come to mind again on the sad yet curiously positive ‘My Time Of Dying’. Many of the songs have a deeply personal lyrical content, although the listener can relate to them in their life always the sign of a good song.
‘Song For The Free’ (his son Wil adds his backing vocals to this song and a few others on the album) is the nearest to his recent solo work and it is a single if ever there was one. The song builds nicely into an uplifting crescendo of melodic bliss.
Without going into ‘fanboy’ mode Neal Morse rarely puts a musical foot wrong and this album is a joy from start to finish. I’d just add the caveat don’t go expecting anything like his recent solo output. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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