Containing pop rock, prog rock, a little fusion and a healthy dose of straight-forward soulful rock and roll, Transition is Steve Lukather's strongest album to date. Produced by Lukather and keyboardist CJ Vanston (who also appeared on 2010's All's Well That Ends Well), Transition features remarkably strong performances augmented by notable guests such as Gregg Bissonette, Leland Sklar, Nathan East and Lenny Castro.
Lukather delivers a memorable guitar solo on every track, and I've never heard him sound more inspired. Lyrically, the songs on Transition are exceptional, even to the high standards set by his previous work. "Judgement Day" is a scathing rebuttal to the kind of vitriolic internet commentary that musicians have to endure far too often. "Right the Wrong" and "Do I Stand Alone" contain political commentary that is direct and poignant, but doesn't come across as preachy - not an easy thing to do. But then again, Lukather did win a Grammy for songwriting when he was only 25 years old.
Standout tracks are the edgy "Creep Motel" (written by Lukather, Vanston and Fee Waybill of The Tubes), the ballad "Once Again" (with it's Toto-esque rhythmic twist in the chorus) and the title track "Transition" - a stunning prog rock instrumental that ends with a brief but powerful lyric about death and loss. The instrumental standard "Smile" closes the album with a tasty guitar lick at the end that will make you want to rewind and hear it again.
Collaborator CJ Vanston really knows what he's doing. His masterful keyboard arrangements are top notch, and as the mix engineer he's responsible for the buttery-smooth sound quality as well.
Mascot Records offers Transition on CD and 180g vinyl, and it's also available to download from iTunes and Amazon.com.