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lifelovehopecoverLife, Love & Hope
Label: Frontiers
Released: December 03, 2013
Reviewed: December 8, 2013

Let’s be honest about this: Given the history of the release of studio albums by Boston, their new CD, Life, Love & Hope – the band’s first studio album in eleven years (and their first since the passing of lead singer, Brad Delp) – this could very well be the last CD of new material by the band.

Let’s also be honest: Critics were negative about the album when it was still just a rumor. Why? Well, it all seems to rest on the shoulders of Tom Sholz, founding member, producer, arranger and engineer of the band’s sixth album. I’d rather note opine about this. I’d prefer to offer Mr. Sholz’s own comment about this that is provided in the CD’s liner notes:

“When I started recording this album over ten years ago, who’d have thought I’d still be working on it in 2013? OK, don’t answer that. These are all songs from the heart, each of them taking many months of effort to write, arrange, perform and record, always up to the demands of BOSTON’s harshest critic, me. They have all been meticulously recorded to analogue tape on the same machines and equipment used for BOSTON’s hits for the past 35 years.”

Sholz shares more about the process but you’ll need to purchase the CD to learn what that is.

This CD is markedly different from the albums that made Boston an iconic band. So what? If they recorded identical music as the first two albums, critics would be shrieking about the lack of originality. The band has grown. There have been personnel changes that were beyond the surviving band member’s control. Death happens and life goes on while as does the memories of those departed.

That all said, Life, Love & Hope gives fans a taste of the past that has grown and changed with the times. The late Brad Delp’s vocals haunt us on four tunes. Three of the songs are from previous albums and have either been re-mastered or re-arranged. A new original song, Sail Away, is “a retrospective of Katrina and the devastation endured by the poor, swept under the rug by the rich.” These tunes are worth the purchase price of the album alone. Buy it.

The disc’s melodies and superb musicianship (mostly by Sholz with some guitar help by Gary Pihl on the title cut) are exactly what one would expect from Sholz: Intricate melodies and musicianship with frequent strokes of pure genius. Vocal work is provided by Sholz, David Victor and Tommy DeCarlo (with occasional help from Louis St. August, Kimberley Dahme Jude Nejmanowski), with harmonies that often remind us why we all fell in love with BOSTON.

Life, Love & Hope is definitely a must-have CD. You’ll love the sounds and you’ll thoroughly appreciate the technical genius of Tom Sholz and his dedication to his craft, musicianship and groundbreaking technological developments that have stood the test of time.