Solo records by artists who are still part of a band should be vehicles to explore new territory, not retreads of what the artist would do if the record was from the group. If you believe that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are a group, then I ask you to tell me the difference between a Tom Petty solo album and a Heartbreakers disc. I don't think there is one. Mind you, Petty, no matter what he labels himself, produces excellent music; it's just that when he puts out a "solo" album, it does not wander very far from what a "Heartbreaker" record sounds like. Tate delivers an album that would not be made by Queensryche, and that is an incredibly refreshing approach. Queensryche albums are heavy concept records with moody, often dark stories flowing in and out about censorship, technology, crime and the future. Tate produces a wonderful record without a binding concept. Most of the material is love songs full of interesting imagery and poetic lyrics. The sound of the record balances an electronica influence with touches of pop. Strings and Spanish guitar are thrown into the mix to further expand the sound and range of the music. "Off the TV' is the one track that has distinctive Queensryche elements and could be a track that appeared on some of their recent work, but other than that, this is a Geoff Tate solo record that explores new ground for the vocalist. It is a great little record and a wonderful surprise. Go get it and enjoy.
~R. David Smola