Continuing the Keane brothers saga, I wanted to present you JOHN KEANE's first solo album "Straight Away". While Tom's subsequent solo works in the music business are more widely known, this record by John Keane is quite hard to find and pretty unfamiliar to AOR aficionados.
After the Keane early '80s albums John Keane became one of the busiest session drummers from the L.A. scene. He did an instrumental LP but his true, integral first solo album was this one from 1999.
John secured some serious cats for the "Straight Away" recording sessions: Mike Landau, Tim Pierce and Buzz Feiten - probably the best guitarists around - Toto's Steve Porcaro on keys, Jason Scheff playing bass, brother Tom Keane on synthesizers, and the list continues.
Obviously what we have here is AOR with a Westcoast smell but highly tinted with a Hi-Tech colour.
Title track "Straight Away" opens the album driven by a pulsating bass line, agile drums and stylized guitar work akin Mr. Mister. John sings with aplomb helped by great harmonized backing vocals.
Then the Hi-Tech AOR appears on the uptempo "Red Raven", followed by the softer "We Love Our Fantasies".
"Venice Is Sinking" is a ballad with a smooth piano accompaniment, "She Can Not Be Denied" recalls Mr. Mister again, while the rocking "Love Is The Last Frontier" (love the guitar work here) is one of my favorites.
"Dark Side Of The Earth" has a slow, climatic atmosphere in the Richard Page solo works, "Since I Met You" is a midtempo with a nice melody, "Still" a truly elegant Westcoast number, and closer "More" ends the CD in full Hi-Tech mode, perhaps too much '90s Peter Gabriel-like for my tastes.
To sum up, if you like the lighter side of AOR with Hi-Tech and L.A. Westcoast touches, John Keane's "Straight Away" deserves a place in your collection. Of course production is impeccable and the playing precise and smooth.
Out of print.
01 - Straight Away
02 - Red Raven
03 - We Love Our Fantasies
04 - Venice Is Sinking
05 - After Dark
06 - She Can Not Be Denied
07 - Love Is The Last Frontier
08 - Headlines And Deadlines
09 - Darkside Of The Earth
10 - Since I Met You
11 - Still
12 - More
John Keane - vocals, drums, keyboards, moog bass
Mike Landau - guitars
Tim Pierce - acoustic & electric guitar
Buzz Feiten - nylon string & electric guitar
Steve Porcaro - keyboards
Tom Keane - synthesizer
Jason Scheff, Ronnie Sage, Ted Landau - bass
Jerry Scheff - acoustic & electric bass
Paulino DaCosta - percussion
Todd Taylor, Guy Thomas - background vocals
JOHN KEANE Straight Away