Review: Transition - Steve Lukather
by Andy Snipper
Lukather has had a stellar career that includes his work with Toto as well as sessions with the likes of Van Halen, Alice Cooper, Whitney Houston and Rod Stewart – oh, he also played guitar on MJ’s Thriller!
In terms of his playing skills there are very few guitarists who come close – Joe Satriani maybe, Steve Vai, Jeff Beck possibly – and he is a remarkably flexible player, able to turn his hands to pretty well anything.
But. He has been through the mill in the last few years and this album is designed as showing his transition from the then to the now. He lost his mother and had various problems with business and he, one of the hardest working players around, actually lost his love of the music for a time. This album is the indicator that Steve Lukather is back ion harness and making the music he loves again.
“Transition is a turning point for the album and a turning point for me,” Lukather explains. “As we were writing the songs, I was thinking about everything I’ve seen — all the people I’ve lost in my life, the great and the difficult experiences I’ve had, and how ultimately it was time to get it together and embrace things for what they are. We’ve only got one life to live so we should make the most of it.”
The album is actually pretty fine. There is some superb playing and his songwriting is powerful and emotive. He has said in the past that he likes light and shade in the albums that he listens to and there are plenty of depths here as well as a very open feel to the playing and the song Transition shows that he has a great sense of pace and power. His guitar playing is great – a million miles away from the widdlers and shredders.
Unfortunately the production sounds dated – heavy drum sounds, right out of the eighties – and that tempers my enjoyment of it all.
There are some moments on the album that are sublime and there is no question that when he is good he is so much better than the rest – it is just that, as a whole, it doesn’t crackle or fizz and for me the problem is with the drumming and the production.
Definitely one that I will turn back to for the best moments but not the best thing I have heard from Mr Lukather.