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GPS

Window To The Soul

Review by Josh Turner
Spock’s Beard is prog rock’s pop equivalent. Dream Theater is prog rock’s metal equivalent. And The Flower Kings are prog rock’s jazz equivalent. So what is GPS? They are prog rock plain and simple.
 
On this album, “Daring” Ryo Okumoto demonstrates amazing keyboards even if his contribution was last-minute and done in the course of a few days. Guthrie “Goodheart” Govan’s guitars are so good that I have trouble figuring out how he was able to hit a number of his notes. Contributing to drums and percussion, Jay “Hootie” Schellen provides the strident drumbeat. Last but not least, “Gatchaman” John Payne’s singing is the hard candy shell that keeps this truffle in one piece.
Alone, they are Thundercats or crime fighters in the universe of G-Force. Together, they are Lion Force Voltron or the Megazord.
 
Window to the Soul is radio-friendly to a degree, plus Okumoto’s instrumental adventures could be used as source material for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Each song is brilliant in its own way. If I had to choose a few trinkets from this treasure trove, “Heaven Can Wait” is an early submission. Likewise, “All My Life” is impressive late in the game; though the winning contestants will remain unnamed for now. On the flip side, if I were pushed to send participants packing early in the first round, I’d be forced to choose “I Believe In Yesterday” and “Since You’ve Been Gone.” The audience at home would have difficulties as well. In grand total, each entrant demonstrates real entertainment. When you add it all up, there are a lot of gifted tracks in this tournament of talent.
Track by Track Review
Window to the Soul
Before we’ve had a chance to touchdown and kiss the ground, they hit us with the title track. It’s great, but the venture only gets better from here. Grab your luggage from the baggage claim and proceed to the desert.
New Jerusalem
Okumoto’s solo takes us from the snake pit and into the fire. Aside from that, it’s lyrically intelligent. Seriously, this song couldn’t be any more age appropriate or period specific as it addresses social studies and current events. It does so in a balanced and unbiased way. It’s so catchy, you almost can’t tell that it has anything to do with CNN, MSNBC or for that matter; Huey Lewis’ cohorts or WKRP.
Heaven Can Wait
This is a powerful ballad with Lynyrd Skyyard tendencies. While it’s death-defying, there is creamy caramel nougat on the inside. eHarmony and Match.com, would be unhappy with this song, because it goes to show that opposites attract. Here you have accessible rock with progressive elements.
Written on the Wind
If you took Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind” and then quenched its thirst with Red Bull, Mountain Dew or Jolt, that parched soul would result in this caffeinated cut.
I Believe In Yesterday
Without getting stuck in the past, this is certainly reminiscent of an eighties love song. It’s one of my least favorite on the disc so it’s time for our wagons to go east.
The Objector
This song is zanier than the others. While it’s distant from the mainstream, it’s a permanent part of my playlist.
All My Life
This edgy pop is like Saga or Queen, and it reminds me of another three-letter acronym: That would be The Syn. Put it all together and you have a winning combination.
Gold
The guitars are like Krister Jonzon whereas the bass is more or less Chris Squire. Govan and Payne strike oil in this ditty, which some would consider to be liquid bullion. Once you’ve made it to this song, I’m sure you will see “super group” written all over them in big bold golden letters.
Since You’ve Been Gone
They hearken back to the heyday of the hair band. It might be time to consider a donation to locks for love. But seriously, this gives us balance by providing buoyancy to their rock.
Taken Dreams
In addition to “New Jerusalem” and “Gold," this explodes as if they’ve lit the wick to a cherry bomb. While those other two compete for the consolation prize, this is the overall winner. Even so, “Heaven Can Wait”, “The Objector”, and “All My Life” are nothing to snuff at either. Just like Spock’s Beard “As Long As We Ride” caps their eighth album Octane; this is an extraordinary song to end on. With this, GPS takes us right into the “Danger Zone”, and it’s when Govan’s guitars are best. To be blunt, his riffs made the difference in my grade. With that said, “Taken Dreams” is unsurpassed. It’s a fusionists soaking-wet dream, but a pop enthusiast could roll around in its waterbed as well. Evidently, it’s the track that would go on to impress the most critics, so I’m not alone on the bandwagon. The album is named after the first track and while it’s gone unmentioned; that too is a sound competitor. Not to mention, everything else is clearly satisfactory or better. While their opening play of the day is respectable, they end the final inning with their most tremendous hit. From start to finish, GPS is hard to lose and easy to access. While the title implies stolen wealth, they could not have ended their first crusade on a better note. Even Zoltar would be beleaguered and besieged by this conclusive blitzkrieg.
Napster, LLC
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