Thursday, May 10, 2007

Steve Lukather - Lukather (1989)

In 1989 Steve Lukather stepped outside the confines of Toto to release his debut solo album. And in this solo effort Lukather received a little help from his friends... Eddie Van Halen (co-writing and playing bass on the album's opener Twist the Knife), Richard Marx (contributing background vocals on a couple of tracks), Steve Stevens (contributing a scorching guitar solo on the epic Fall Into Velvet), Jan Hammer (contributing a synthesized "guitar" solo on Fall Into Velvet), and even Toto bandmates David Paich and Jeff Porcaro contributed their talents to this freshman effort.

Opening with a throwaway Van Halen track (from either the 5150 or OU812 sessions), Twist the Knife the album scorches from the first chords Lukather plays on his guitar. This song was originally recorded, with completely different lyrics and a different title (I Want Action).

The next track, Swear Your Love features very audible background vocals from Richard Marx a moderately interesting but imminently forgettable hook.

The strongest track, indeed the reason to own this album is Fall Into Velvet featuring guitar solos by Steve Lukather and Steve Stevens and a scorching keyboard solo by Jan Hammer (of Miami Vice Theme fame). Clocking in at over 9 minutes and complemented by the soulful background vocals by Cindy Mizelle Lukather takes this track to its absolute limits and really stretches out.

Some of the other stand-out tracks include the pop-friendly Lonely Beat of My Heart (co-penned by Lukather with Diane Warren) and With a Second Chance- either of which could have been successful singles within the context of the late eighties pop scene.

Lukather's lone ballad, Turns to Stone, is pleasant enough but imminently forgettable. It lacks that something special that made some of Lukather's Toto ballads like and I Won't Hold You Back and I'll Be Over You so consistently enjoyable.

All in all, it's a solid but mediocre effort. Lukather's subsequent solo albums would show substantial improvement over this debut release.

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