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(61:02 / Muse-Wrapped Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. No Tears Left For Crying 5:22 2. The Solution 7:33 3. Civilized Dog 3:30 4. One Dark Angel 4:02 5. Mourning Glory 5:03 6. Bloodstone 5:18 7. Broken Hallelujah 5:35 8. Heart & Mind 5:47 9. Inside My Mind 5:16 10. Limbo & Flux 5:07 11. Rainbow Asylum 5:03 12. Every Time We Say Goodbye 3:24 LINEUP: Jack Foster - lead vocals; guitars; keyboards Trent Gardner - keyboards; backing vocals Robert Berry - drums; bass, guitars; b/v With: Andy Eberhard - drums (2, 3, 12) David Hipshan - saxophone (4)
Prolusion. The third solo CD by JACK FOSTER III, "Tame Until Hungry", finds this American musician and songwriter still in company of Trent Gardner and Robert Berry with whom he recorded both his previous releases, "The Evolution of JazzRaptor" and "RaptorGnosis". If you are familiar with those names, you need no further introduction. If not, well, then you're a neophyte.
Analysis. To say this album is a logical step in Jack Foster's creative development is to follow the tastes of those who don't care a straw about the decadence of Progressive Rock or are willing to greet whatever they hear. In which the artist continues to 'progress' is only in simplifying his music. With "Tame Until Hungry" the evolution of JazzRaptor has reached a deadlock and is already akin to evilution, deriving from "evil". Perhaps the disc got the title it did to convince us fans of the need for having patience and wait for that once-freedom-loving entity to rise from the ashes, like a phoenix, but even if so, its current reincarnation is too tame to be a raptor, more suitable for a peacock whose beauty is beauty indeed, but has lost its sense of the wild. Jack's endowments are still obvious, finding their reflections in his (both poetic and clever) lyrics and melodies as well, but in terms of advance his new recording is hardly more convincing than any of the two follow-ups to Asia's eponymous debut effort, "Alfa" and "Astra". While Jack's first album is built on a solid basis of Prog blended with some of the genre's essential sub-styles, and the second one at least shifts back and forth between Hard- and Art-Rock, infrequently flirting with standard pop, "Tame Until Hungry" is a lot more straightforward approach, with the singing being put on the head of the list almost throughout. There are no instrumentals among the twelve tracks here, while the number of songs, containing what we normally perceive as instrumental interludes, can be counted on the fingers of one hand, only two of those, Bloodstone and Broken Hallelujah, standing out for some truly progressive arrangements. The core of Broken Hallelujah has quite a good deal in common with On an Island from David Gilmour's CD of that name, but what makes the piece especially compelling is its mid-section where the trio suddenly enters the realm of Metal whose raw, explosive energy creates a dramatic contrast with the delicacy of the song's primary storyline. Mourning Glory has some fine moments, as also has the Beatles-inspired tune One Dark Angel, including the sax improvisation during its finale. The Solution is a dynamic hard-rocker reminiscent equally of Jack's previous effort and Magellan, though the echoes of the band can be heard on quite a few of the other songs also, which is certainly no surprise. The unnamed seven tracks all have to do exclusively with classic pop music, though their melodies aren't as catchy as those by artists who currently top the charts in that field, be it Christina Aguilera or Robbie Williams.
Conclusion. With his latest release Jack Foster makes a compromise with the demands of the times, patently gambling on achieving commercial success, without fearing the difficulties he might meet on that thorny path or losing part of his old fan base either.
VM: October 31, 2007
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