It's been more than 10 years since Boston released a studio album, now Tom Scholz is back with Life, Love & Hope. Scholz is playing all instruments - even if getting a little help here and there - and even lay down lead vocals on two tracks. The other tracks are sung by Kimberley Dahme, David Victor, Brad Delp and Tommy DeCarlo.
The biggest problem for Boston is the high expectations people have, everybody seems to expect another More Than A Feeling... The opener is called Heaven On Earth and shows that Tom Scholz still knows how to write AOR songs. This one is sung by David Victor. Personally I think the drums should be more up-front... But the trademark of Boston's sound is Tom Scholz guitar, so I can live with it. After Didn't Mean To Fall In Love Mr. Scholz presents the instrumental Last Days Of School which somehow reminds me of a TSO tune due to the bombastic sound.
With Sail Away he presents a powerful track, but spiced up with fragile keyboard parts. At the title track Gary Pihl is joining Tom Scholz at the six-strings and Tommy DeCarlo is taking over the mic from Brad Delp. Life, Love & Hope is well-chosen as a title track as it has some classic Boston sound elements and sounds fresh, too.
The ballad If You Were In Love is sung by Kimberley Dahme and isn't one of the highlights of Life, Love & Hope, but still more than average. Love Got Away is the stronger one, perhaps because Tom Scholz is singing it.... With Someone and You Gave Up On Love he re-recorded two old tunes,to indicate that he added 2.0 to the title. At Someone 2.0 the clapping hands are a bit annoying and the organ adds so much more to the tune than the clapping. You Gave Up On Love 2.0 offers 80's backings and so it's a bit like a travel back in time. At this one Kimberley Dahme, Tommy DeCarlo and Tom Scholz share vocal duties. The closer is called The Way You Look Tonight, it's sung by Tommy DeCarlo and it's an enchanting balladesque rocker with a dash of 80's AOR.
Perhaps this album isn't what fans expected, but it ain't bad. Sure, it has no smash hit, but it's quite good, so give the album a chance!