CD Reviews > Boston

Boston - Life, Love, & Hope

Frontier Records

Finally! After a 10-plus-year hiatus, Boston is back with a new album, “\Life, Love, & Hope (Frontier Records). Literally a decade in the making, the album was recorded at founder/guitarist/keyboardist/composer/producer Tom Scholz’s Hideaway Studios, and for most of the songs included (there are a couple exceptions), it was indeed well worth the wait.

“These songs are from the heart,” Scholz explained, “each of them taking many months 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 & equipment used for Boston’s hits for the past 35 years.”

The subject matter is very personal as Scholz bears his soul, calling the songs a “reflection of how certain traumatic events can impact people’s lives,” all against a musical backdrop that is very much the Boston sound we all know and love. The album also features a beautiful full-color booklet with notes from Scholz and detailed song credits.

Five vocalists are featured on the album. It was refreshing to hear the late Brad Delp – the iconic voice of Boston – included on Life, Love, & Hope. He may be gone but will never be forgotten. Other vox was performed by Tommy DeCarlo, Kimberly Dahme, David Victor, and even Tom Scholz himself.

Joining the aforementioned Scholz, the current Boston line-up includes: Gary Pihl (rhythm & lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Curly Smith (drums, percussion, harmonica, backing vocals), Kimberly Dahme (bass, guitar, vocals), Tommy DeCarlo (lead vocals, keyboards, percussion), David Victor (guitar, vocals), and Tracy Ferrie (bass, backing vocals). Drummer Jeff Neal was also featured on the album, although he has been on leave from the band since 2012.

The bittersweet power ballad “Heaven On Earth” starts things off, imbued with hope for a reconciliation. The intro to “Didn’t Mean To Fall In Love” features a telephone ringing and going straight to voice mail, sequeing into a gorgeous song (it’s definitely Brad Delp singing this one). The haunting “Last Day Of School” teeters emotionally between stinging regret to hopeful promise. “Sail Away” features a fun techno metal intro which then morphs into beautiful, soul-stirring musicianship.

“Life, Love, & Hope’s” title track is classic Boston in all of the band’s pride and glory – one of my favorite tracks on the album! By contrast, The Crowgrrl doesn’t much care for “If You Were In Love” – the album’s weakest link. “Someday” doesn’t come close to the classic Boston vibe, so I was a little disappointed in this one as well – it just doesn’t pull on the heartstrings like the more familiar vintage Boston hits do – it’s more mellow, a bit low-key.

The bleak ballad “Love Got Away” will definitely bring a sympathetic tear to the eye. The soft, emotional “Someone” whisks the listener back in time to the Eighties, great nostalgic song! Despite the almost schizophrenic musicianship sewn together like a Frankenstein’s monster in “You Gave Up On Love”, it actually Works – fantastic song! The album leaves us on a wonderful romantic note in “The Way You Look Tonight” – nice choice for a “Last Song Syndrome” tune to stick in your head when the album ends.

In other Boston news, Tom Scholz is also behind the holiday release, “God Rest Ye Metal Gentlemen”.

~Athena Schaffer