ALBUM: Look Into The Future
SERIAL: PC 33904
CD REISSUE: 1989, CBS, CK 33904 * 2006, Sony (Japan), MHCP 1165
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Gregg Rolie - vocals, keyboards * Neal Schon - guitar * Ross Valory - bass * Aynsley Dunbar - drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 On A Saturday Nite * 02 It's All Too Much * 03 Anyway * 04 She Makes Me (Feel Alright) * 05 You're On Your Own * 06 Look Into The Future * 07 Midnight Dreamer * 08 I'm Gonna Leave You
There's a handful of Journey diehards that wish the band never went commercial the way that they did. The pre Steve Perry
era saw three albums released, the band blissfully happy playing latin fused progressive rock to an equally blissed out audience. Unfortunately this wasn't blissing the bean-counters at CBS. 'Produce some songs fit for radio or you'll be on your bike' - they said to Manager Herbie Herbert. Well, as we all know, the rest is history as they say. That's not to say that those three albums weren't any good. It's like comparing chalk to cheese. My favourite of the three is the middle one: 1976's 'Look Into The Future'. In fact, I was playing this album at the same time as 'Infinity' and 'Evolution' and getting a well-rounded education of the band during those heady days of 1979. With an album cover that reminds one of the old TV comedy show 'Get Smart', perhaps 'Look Into The Future' was more about the past rather than crystal ball gazing into the next 3-5 years. Certainly I don't think that Schon, Rolie and co had any concept of what looking into the future would entail on their respective timelines looking ahead.
Gone from the debut album was guitarist Geroge Tickner, Journey now reduced to a quartet. Gregg Rolie takes control for the lead-off track 'On A Saturday Nite'. His vocals work well with the barroom boogie sound being generated. Not a lot of prog here. Same too for the bright natured Beatles
cover 'It's All Too Much', with Schon's six-string coverage giving us all an idea what was to come musically in the second phase of the band's history. This could've been pitched for the 'Evolution' LP for want of a better description. The first sign of deep and dirty prog rock arises with the third track 'Anyway', it shuffles on a very slow rhythm and things are very understated throughout. Not so with 'She Makes Me Feel Alright', which is the musical equivalent of a witches brew; a prog based rocker where Schon blazes away with a Robin Trower
like tone. Another slower track is 'You're On Your Own', which changes tempo soon after the start. It's the most unusual song on the album, changing speed and style as it progresses. Without doubt, the coup de grace on the album is the title track 'Look Into The Future', an 8 minute wonder which still gets a lot of airplay from me. I sort of grew up with this song so I'm kinda biased toward it. The final crescendo toward the end is simply breathtaking. In my opinion, their finest pre Perry moment. For the first time, the band'sSantana
influence is heard on 'Midnight Dreamer'. Actually this sounds closer to Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush
than anything. All that's missing is Frank's famous wah-wah pedal. The middle section turns into a near jazz fusion workout with Rolie's rhodes and Dunbar's jazz drum work combining well. The sirens blare open for 'I'm Gonna Leave You', moving onto an intro that sounds as if Kansas
nicked for their huge hit 'Carry On Wayward Son' later in the 1976 year ('Look Into The Future' was released in January 1976) .. lol! This sounds pretty damn good too, those swirly organ runs and Schon's hyper-active guitar filling out the spaces. Great way to finish..
By the time this album came out, diehards could tell that things were on the change, as much of the debut's progressive-ness and experimental nature was dropped. With a whole bunch of shorter and construction-ready songs (despite containing their longest song.. the title track), 'Look Into The Future' was caught in no-mans land between the two major genre's of the era: progressive rock and hard rock. The band would return the following year with 'Next', their last attempt in this style before Steve Perry
, Herbie Herbert and Roy Thomas Baker changed things forever in 1978 with the 'Infinity' album.
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