Look Into The Future


Columbia Records, 1976


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I kind of feel bad that it's been well over a year since Journey last graced the pages of "The Daily Vault" - last time any of their records and I shook hands, Steve Perry was still singing with the band.

I had been looking at dusting off Captured as part of our live-album series, but reader Joe Temborius checked in with a request for a review of older Journey - that is, pre-Perry. (As surprising as it may be to some people, Perry was not an original member of Journey.) Hell of a suggestion, I thought, and - wham! - into the Pierce Archives (where we've been caffiene-free now for 12 days... I'm ready to be peeled off the ceiling now), and out with Look Into The Future from 1976.

Coming off the release of their debut album and the departure of guitarist George Tickner, Journey found themselves a more stripped-down band... a change which helped to intensify the music and raise the bar for them musically. With the vocal duties shared by guitarist Neil Schon and keyboardist Gregg Rolie, and a solid backbeat provided by bassist Ross Valory and drummer Aynsley Dunbar, Journey's sound almost became a melting pot of everything that was good about rock in the '70s. You can hear a Kansas influence here, a Grand Funk influence there, even a touch of Santana now and then.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Journey quickly proves that they were one helluva rock band by opening the album with "On A Saturday Nite" and "It's All Too Much," a cover of the George Harrison classic. The interplay between these four musicians is incredible, and one has to wonder what would have happened had Perry not joined the band a year later. My thought: they would have been more of a rock outfit, only occasionally touching on the syruppy ballads. Oh, there's a tinge of balladry on Look Into The Future, but nothing like the stuff that would clog the arteries of rock radio in the second half of the band's career.

As for the rest of this album, I defy you to point out a weak track anywhere on the record. Yeah, I guess you could lop a minute off the ending jam of the title track (even though Schon's guitar work is astounding), and you could do the same with "I'm Gonna Leave You". But the strange thing is, these longer jams actually don't ruin the progress that Journey made with the basic track; rather, they tend to enhance the songs themselves.

Oh, I guess there is one complaint I could lodge against Look Into The Future: it's too damn short! I'm admittedly not a big fan of Journey, and I did have this album languishing in the Archives since I picked it up about six months ago. But just as Joe Temborius hinted, this early work from Journey's career breaks any preconceived mold one has of Journey and gives them a solid slap in the face as a wake-up call. If only they had continued to write songs in this vein.

So, Joe, you've done well to educate the old critic. Look Into The Future is a goldmine that is waiting to be discovered by fans of Journey old and new alike. After devouring this disc, something tells me that I'll be picking up some of Journey's older catalog in the near future.

Rating: A

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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Columbia Records, and is used for informational purposes only.