The Storm -- _Eye of The Storm_ (Miramar)

The Storm has finally reached America! The second album from this San Francisco area band had been taking Europe by, well, storm, but not until Miramar brought it to us have US audiences been able to feel it. With a pedigree this impressive (including two members of Journey), I would expect nothing less than a superior pop/rock album. As forecast, The Storm hits hard.

Indeed, hits rain down throughout the the album. "I Want To Be The One" is catchy midtempo pop with a beautiful and immediately unforgettable chorus. "Livin' It Up" is punchy rock in the Eric Clapton mold, fitting in among Clapton hits like "Pretending," "No Alibis," or "She's Waiting." The Storm also shines bright on ballads like "To Have And To Hold," "Waiting For The World To Change," and "What Ya Doing Tonight?", drops of polished near-perfection. Like the best Richard Marx ("Hold On To The Night") or Toto ("I'll Be Over You") ballads, these Storm tracks are familiar but not formulaic, sweet but not saccharine, energetic but not overwhelming.

The Storm winds their rockers and ballads together throughout the record, an album sure to appeal to fans of both classic rock bands (like Journey or Boston) and hit radio bands (like Journey or Boston). Fans of '80s and '90s pop with a rock edge may want a place to hide away from the maelstrom of mediocre pop that seems to pelt us all these days; for them, this "Eye of The Storm" is sweet and sunny relief, easy to get into and hard to want to leave.

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