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Articles Home » 2008 Articles » Touch, John Jeff - 2008 First Touch
Touch, John Jeff - 2008 First Touch

ARTIST: Touch, John Jeff
ALBUM: First Touch
LABEL: Plus Records/Lion Music
YEAR: 2008
SPONSOR: John Jeff Touch


LINEUP: John Jeff Touch - vocals, keyboards, programming, acoustic guitar, bass * Sotiris Gogos - guitars * Milcho Leviev - piano, melodica * Alex Deligiannidis, Yiotis Kiourtsoglou - bass * Dario Ciccioni, Tedor Yankov - drums * Efthimis Tsakiris - sax * Stelios Tsopanidis - percussion * Melina Papadopoulou - violins

TRACK LISTING: 01 Message * 02 Lovin U * 03 Sometimes * 04 Spirit * 05 Crystals * 06 Can't Live Without U * 07 Each Day * 08 We Feel * 09 Moments * 10 Between 2 Worlds * 11 Sometimes (acoustic version)



From Greece, we introduce to you John Jeff Touch - a multi-faceted vocalist who traverses different genres of rock in a multitude of styles. John was first introduced to G-DAZE courtesy of the 2006 CD release by the band Killer Sixgun - featuring guitar wizard Lakis Ragazas. He sang on the project, and along with the other key player on that album - Sotiris Gogos, the duo would later hook up for this album 'First Touch'. Interestingly, John has signed with Lion Music - and it must be fair to say, that this album would (by Lion Music's standard of previous history and discography) be an unusual signing for them, as it does not contain any of the standard trademark progressive metal leanings that are typical of their roster. Instead, JJT has delivered an album that melds pop, jazz, fusion, acoustic and rock into a varied collection of songs, with John's breathy vocal cutting through on all tracks. In places where he rocks out, comparisons can be made to Kip Winger's solo work or perhaps Oliver Hartmann, or Michele Luppi. Elsewhere, I can hear a bit of Freddie Mercury and Robbie Williams, where power, emotion and a flair for the dramatic seem to prevail among his songs.

The Songs
The opener 'Message' has some nice synth touches, multiple vocal harmonies, and is an AOR sounding tune topped by an OTT solo courtesy of Mr Gogos. The next tune 'Lovin U' is wrapped in a crackly vinyl recording intro, before opening out into what could be best described as a euro pop/rock outing, the sax solo keeping it contemporary and dare-I-say-it 'urban sounding. 'Sometimes' is preceded by a synth wash, a double bass type solo, and tinkly piano lines. JJT moves this tune in a variety directions.. one would be the aforementioned Kip Winger. It does have a cinematic feel to it, perhaps it should be on a soundtrack somewhere? 'Spirit' seems to ebb and flow - very much in keeping with the songtitle, whereas 'Crystal' seems to draw upon a musical strain that has a natural indigenous vibe. The sort of song you could see JJT singing underneath a tree on the beaches of Sri Lanka! 'Can't Live Without U' includes a heavy orchestral feel that could give Robbie Williams a run for his (considerable) money - that is if you could be bothered chasing after him and his UFO hunting parties! Sotiris Gogos announces his awesome guitar talent on 'Each Day', the song settles into a slower-mid tempo arrangement that floats rather than being propelled by the rhythm section. JJT's vocals drift in and out on the acoustic meets synth of 'We Feel'. Others might describe this as pop, I wouldn't.. perhaps a bit too sophisticated for that market I reckon. 'Moments' is a return to the cinematic style we heard earlier, this time combining progressive and folkier elements such as flute. Suitably named, 'Between 2 Worlds' has a world music vibe to it, lots of percussion and ethnic sounding instruments in the mix. Sure, Gogos lead guitar cuts through, but I could still be standing on the streets of Dakar hearing the same vibe shine through. The closer is an acoustic version of the aforementioned complexity of 'Sometimes'. Nice to hear it stripped back.

In Summary
Without doubt, this is an ambitious piece of work. 'First Touch' is more about music wrapped around the vocals of JJT, and for it not to be considered a pure hard rock album - because it isn't. You won't find any four minute rockers that will get your rocks off - the first track aside. Like the aforementioned Kip Winger, you'll find 'First Touch' to be an intelligent and sophisticated piece of work, and one which holds depth and atmosphere and variety. I mentioned Michele Luppi beforehand too. He went from pure prog metal (Vision Divine to AOR. I wonder what challenges lie ahead for John Jeff Touch? I'm certain he could tackle a range of different genres with that multi-part voice. The world could very well be his oyster..

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#1 | george_the_jack on July 04 2008 13:44:13
As I see it, this is an album that shows diversity of influences rather destined to musicians or at least open-eared music lovers....
#2 | george_the_jack on July 06 2008 23:45:48
I'm not sure how much Yiotis Kiourtsoglou has participated in this album but he is considered to be the best bass player in Greece and one of the most talented among the world. He has studied in the Los Angeles Musician's Institute and is a member of the jazz trio 'Human Touch'....Him alone, could be a good reason for me to check this album out!
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