Steve Vai - The Story Of Light
It's been awhile since we've heard from Steve Vai. While no self-respecting guitar admirer can deny his virtuosity since he began touring with David Lee Roth and bands like Whitesnake back in the '80s, it HAS been seven years since his last full-length album. Can someone who is primarily known for drawn-out instrumentals create a compelling enough listening experience for dyed-in-the-wool rockers as well as attract new fans from this new generation of music ADD sufferers?
The Story of Light is a bit of a mixed bag in this regard. It would be foolish to suggest that Vai's playing doesn't shines throughout , including more than a few goosebump-inducing moments, but there is also a sense of unevenness, as if there is a balance that Vai is striving for that you ultimately feel bad for him never quite attaining. Maybe it's the feeble attempt to have unconventional Vai accompaniments like piano on opener "Story of Light" and strings ("Weeping China Doll") share the spotlight with him. Maybe it's the awkward placement of some of his slower compositions between finger-tapping adrenaline rushes. Maybe it's because of the optics of Vai taking eight tracks to find his voice if you will when he sings on "The Moon and I". Not to sound disparaging, but I think this would have been best served being placed at the front end of the album, as it almost sounds as if he's warming up, working out the kinks.
Steve Vai has long past the point of "fretting" over what critics may think of his studio work. His live show is where he continues to cement his reputation as one of the all-time greats; if you weren't aware, he's already in the midst of a 2-month, 49 date North American tour - See Vai.com/tourdates for where you can still catch him. From the setlists I've perused, he's playing new material that best represents his quasi-metal, progressively hard rockin' roots, those being "Velorum", "Gravity Storm", and "Racing the World". I'll give The Story of Light one out of two signs of the horns. \m/
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