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Reviews

SOTO Origami

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Sunday, May 5, 2019 @ 8:09 AM


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SOTO
Origami

Inside Out Music




You may remember those melodic dulcet tones over the insane guitar shredding on classic Yngwie Malmsteen numbers such as “I’ll See The Light Tonight” and “Heaven Tonight”. Or perhaps his impressive performance as part of fictitious supergroup STEEL DRAGON from the 2001 movie Rock Star (a.k.a. Heavy Metal Cliff Notes For Jennifer Aniston). Or you’ll recall that same noticeable crooning from when he was touring with JOURNEY on their 2006-2007 tour. And lest we forget his numerous collaborations with TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, TALISMAN, SOUL SIRKUS, W.E.T., SONS OF APOLLO…hell, he was even on GLASS TIGER’s 1990 Simple Mission album when Alan Frew and company decided to finally rock out, particularly on “Animal Heart” and “Rhythm Of Your Love”. He likely could’ve done Rod Stewart’s lines on the “My Town” duet if he could pull off a decent Scottish brogue with his noticeable New Jersey accent.

To summarize, singer/songwriter/musician Jeff Scott Soto is one of hard rock’s hardest working men in show business and is, to be honest, criminally overlooked. His music CV must be at least five pages long, never mind the other albums he’s either duetted on, sang on, likely produced and even played on over the past 30+ years that I wouldn’t have time to list on this review, so we’ll just focus on his latest solo project titled SOTO, which is really three albums in if you include the most recent album Origami, which has brought him back into the fold since 2016’s DIVAK.

Opening number “HyperMania” features a lot of the SOTO and Soto characteristics: Rough yet melodic vocals, uplifting chorus and….electronic beats? On literal paper, this could sound like a predictable chase towards the hipster IMAGINE DRAGONS/TWENTY ONE PILOTS skinny jeans-and-man bun market. On audio, this surprisingly works well as Soto lets his voice direct the course of the song. Not to mention that given that one of Soto’s own musical inspirations in the form of Freddie Mercury flirted with disco/new wave at the peak of QUEEN’s mid-80’s career, their legacy didn’t suffer much back in the day either. SOTO are just continuing the trend of exploring new territory.

That said, while SOTO do a phenomenal job in crafting songs with catchy modern pop hooks, it’s their hard rock numbers that are easily their strongest attribute on Origami. The title track alone is a ripping number thanks to Soto’s dynamic vocals and the powerful playing of his backing band comprised of Jorge Salan (guitar), Tony Dickinson (bass), BJ (keyboard/guitar) and Edu Cominato (drums) who play with hungry enthusiasm throughout this song and the album. Other top neck wreckers on the album include the groove-laden “World Gone Colder”, the blunt-sounding “Detonate” with its catchy chorus, and especially the driving tune “BeLie” with its pounding drums and melodic riffs which bring to mind some of QUEENSRYCHE’s most atmospheric-sounding work from the Empire/Promised Land era.

And just to give the listener even more value for their paper money, Origami will be available as a limited Digipak-CD with a set of 3 stickers and a bonus track (“KMAG”) as well as on 180gr. vinyl with the LP including the entire album (and additional track) on CD as bonus. The album features elegant artwork by Gustavo Sazes, who’s done his fair share of outstanding cover art for MACHINE HEAD, AMARANTHE and ARCH ENEMY to name a few bands.

With over three decades of playing, touring and recording with some of the top names in the music business while adapting to changing musical styles without compromising his own delivery and range, Jeff Scott Soto is well past having to prove himself in the game to justify his vast career beyond numbers that look good on a detailed report summing up his success. Especially with Origami, he’s proven the adage that rock will beat paper every time.

4.5 Out Of 5

www.sototheband.com
www.facebook.com/SOTOofficial
www.twitter.com/SOTOtheBand
www.facebook.com/JeffScottSoto


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