So a few years ago, I got to interview Luke on the phone for a Tourniquet feature during the Antiseptic Bloodbath era. During the conversation I learned that Luke's personal musical preference was actually more in the pop direction. Odd for a metal singer? Maybe. So when I heard of this coming new solo album, I wasn't sure what to expect. As with most genres of music, pop music has so, so many different sub-genres and styles, so where would he land?
The day I received the CD in the mail, I had to leave for an almost four hour road trip down to North Carolina to help my in-laws who got pretty beat up during Hurricane Florence a few weeks back. So, I hopped into the car, popped in this new CD, added some additional bass, and cranked it up. WHOA! What I was hit with was more than expected! This was sounding AMAZING!Next thing I realized, it had been two hours, and I had listened to the CD four times in a row; it was THAT good to my ears.
While this may be considered more of an EP, having just seven tracks and clocking in at about 28 minutes, it is not at all what I expected (well, I had no clue what to expect), but very done and enjoyable for multiple listens obviously. As anticipated, his vocal style is way different when performing this style. There were really only a few places where I really got the feel and sound that reminded me of the voice I am so akin to hearing on Tourniquet. While very melodic most of the time, he still has a bit of grit that keeps things from being too syrupy sweet like some pop may be. His voice just slides right into this style perfectly, and while I have no issue with the Luke years with Tourniquet, after hearing this, I say this is the style his voice was meant to perform.
Die-hard Tourniquet or metal-only fans may not find much here, but for those who have a wider range of tastes like I do, this is a top notch rock release. Musically it is tight, very well produced, and has a big fat sound, giving us screaming guitar solos, great running bass lines, and a drummer who holds it all together nicely. While the title says pop, I would say this is more of a solid driving rock album with pop or commercial tendencies. At times I was getting a flavor of the kind of rocking material the Elefante brothers used to give us (think early Mastedon) with tracks like Life Goes on and As Damaged As You Are. Then there are times it has an almost pop punk upbeat feel, like on How to Die Alone and Broken. There are a few styles present here, but all in all, a very well done commercial rock album.
And then when you consider that this recording features performances by David Bach (Guardian), Jesse Sprinkle (Poor Old Lu, Demon Hunter, Blank Books), Josiah Prince (Disciple), as well as a special appearance by former Stryper bassist Timothy Gaines, it is not hard to grasp that this is not some keyboard laden tame pop album but in fact an energetic, guitar driven, high energy rock album with hooks and melody.
I encourage you to give it a try, you might be as surprised as I was to how much I enjoyed it (shoot, I just listened two more times straight through while I was writing this). It is available on most of the major digital services, or direct from his site - www.lukeeaster.com.