All’s Well That Ends Well is Steve Lukather’s sixth solo album and his second since calling time on the fondly remembered Toto in 2008. Despite his veteran status this latest album finds Lukather desperately groping for direction.
Sonically Lukather seems torn between divergent approaches. Album opener “Darkness in My World” sees Lukather layering his smooth MOR solos over CJ Vanston’s 70s tinged Neu meets Eno ambient soundscape. This tonal collision of 80s power with 70s artistic chic is the closest Lukather comes to an artistic breakthrough. Unfortunately his tired cliché laden lyricism manages to weigh down even his most subtle work.
Lukather then begins to sporadically hop sub-genres with little success as we are treated to soft funk (“On My Way Home”), bland power chord driven chuggery (“Can’t Look Back”), dreary power ballads (“Watching The Work”) and the uninspired, King Crimson-light, attempt at jazz-fusion “You’ll Remember”.
Occasionally Lukather stumbles upon lyrical inspiration. He rages bitterly at the purposelessness of celebrity culture on “Flash In The Pan”, name checking TMZ, twitter, and both Perez and Paris Hilton in the process. Similarly Lukather sighs and shakes his head as he watches Glen Beck’s morose vitriol spreading across social media on the reflective “Brody’s”.
Elsewhere the album closer “Tumescent” allows Lukather and his band’s technical skill to come to the fore with an effective, if not entirely original, take on progressive jazz-fusion.
Sadly these moments of genuine energy and intrigue are too few and too far between. All’s Well That Ends Well is ultimately an album recorded by session musicians and bit part players, and as such, it has a distinct second rate feel. The execution may be crisp but the ideas are dated and pedestrian.
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