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Neal Schon album coverThe beating heart of melodic rockers Journey and well-known guitarist Neal Schön has gathered the talents of Journey drummer in conjunction with bassist , known for his work with Black Star Riders, Ted Nugent and Whitesnake amongst others, and the three forces have produced an interesting album as a result.

It would be too easy to dismiss such collaboration or see So U as an opportunity for some self-indulgent expressions.  Thankfully they avoid the pitfalls of such self-confident bravado for the most part but do fall foul on a couple of musical moments like Exotica and Big Ocean.  Both are instrumentals which showcase the skills and virtuosity of the musicians but do little for fans of song.

As a listener of So U, there is plenty to enjoy like the atmospheric and extravagant title track or the excellent On My Way with its hints of Stevie Salas Concorde.  Take a Ride and What You Want both have the groove-factor ingrained in their DNA and are all the better for it.  In contrast to these toe-tapping rockers, Love Finds a Way offers up a power ballad which would be comfortable with a sea of swaying lighters.

Main man Schön stated this about So U, “This is a great new record that features all three of us – Deen, Marco and myself – sharing lead vocals.  Enjoy!”  It is evident that he is gushing with pride and enthusiasm about this project, and for all intents and purposes it entertains.

So U covers all bases competently but fades in context to the musicians’ day jobs.  For those who are patiently waiting for the next Journey album or admire Mendoza’s bass-work, this would make a pleasant pit-stop and is likely to entertain in the meantime.  You wouldn’t be likely to add it to the “classic” category anytime soon, but the main observation of So U is how their instincts guided them from making this a dirge or an album for musicians.

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