Having Jeff Scott Soto on your label must be as much a source of frustration as it is joy.
The man’s versatility and eclectic tastes mean one is never entirely sure what to expect from him next. So, on the one hand, he’ll deliver the (intentionally?) ironically titled, ‘A Beautiful Mess’, an album that owed much to the sort of pop fare likely to cause shudders of distaste amongst his core fan base, only to then follow it up with ‘Damage Control’. Again, a brilliantly titled slab of irony and surely something of a response to the former?
In any event, ‘Damage Control’ is not only a rock album it’s also one of the hardest and heaviest releases of the man’s chequered solo career thus far.
Speaking to him about the new album, he explained how he’d felt something of “a void” of late and had a desire to return to the sort of hard rocking which those familiar with Talisman’s output would recognise and be familiar.
Let us be clear, he has achieved his objective and then some. Working with a variety collaborators and co-writers, ‘Damage Control’ is a satisfying slab of classy and sophisticated, but hard, rock. The pipes sound as glorious as ever and on tracks like, ‘Give A Little More’ and title-cut, ‘Damage Control’ they are backed by the sort of bludgeoning riffage which heralds a triumphant return to form.
There are two version of the album; an eleven-song standard version and a deluxe fourteen-track version which, of the 21 songs to emerge from the sessions, represent the cream of the cuts and Jeff’s personal preferred version. So you get ‘Take You Down’ ‘Elena’ and ‘Afraid To Die’. All three of which are not only top-drawer songs in their own right but also make for a much more cohesive and well-structured track-listing. Make no mistake; these are not the sort of sub-standard ‘bonus extras’ often thrown in to beef up slim pickings but an integral part of the whole.
Really, it’s hard to find a down-side and fans of high-quality, sophisticated hard rock cannot afford to miss out on ‘Damage Control’.
A gem of an album.