Review Summary: The glorious spaceship does not need new engines or new crew members. It needs to be taken into a museum.
After 11 years since the last studio album, every Boston fan was clinging from Tom Scholz to revive the sympathetic band that was once in the limelight. This return to glory days was probably envisioned by the pioneer guitarist when he decided to recruit a batch of vocalists in order to release Boston's sixth studio album. This group included amongst others Brad Delp, the later on deceased original vocalist. The industrious Scholz undertook once again the responsibility to write, record and produce an album that --according to his words-- would be "up to the demands of Boston's harshest critic, me''.
Tom's electric, fuzzy and trademark guitar sound is evident throughout the album. He does not abandon it and this is encouraging. What is not encouraging though is the fact that the quality of those riffs does not depict at the slightest any of his capabilities or his earlier work. The album's intro song "Heaven on Earth'' starts optimistically and gives to the listener the aforementioned 'hope' as stated in the title; the hope that Boston are back. However, from this point and on an avalanche of dismissive and antipathetic songs begins.
The successor "Didn't Mean to Fall in Love" --a remastered version from previous album Corporate America-- seems like an abandoned thought for the b-side of "More Than A Feeling" single rather than a song that will sell millions of copies. This attempt to remaster and re-arrange songs from Corporate America happened with another two tracks ("Someone" and "Someday") and the last thing it did was to impress. The lack of inspiration is evident and the grand example comes with "Last Day of School" and "If You Were In Love". These two songs sound very similar in terms of guitar tones and drum patterns with the exception that the latter also contains a poor vocal performance by Kimberley Dahme, the band's bassist. In general, most of the songs are monotonous and they lack of clever --in fact of any
-- hooks. However, the most deterrent moment on this album (and probably in the whole discography of Boston) is "The Way You Look Tonight". A shallow song with no focus, no purpose and no reason of being played outside of a studio.
Unfortunately, the album does not suffer only from inspiration but also from bad production. Occasionally you will hear the guitar solo being sunk in the drums as in "Someday" or the vocals trying desperately to be heard amongst the other instruments. Above all, you get the feeling that you are hearing re-cycled material, melodies and riffs that were written long time ago and are now presented as new. Whatever the truth is, no one cares at the end of the day. The once blistering and shiny spaceship needs to rest forever in the pantheon. The only thing to be kept is the artwork which brings back memories.