And this is it, my introduction to the wonderful world of Kevin Gilbert. This CD grabs you from the start, with monster harmonies and delectable acoustic runs into the actual song. Then a unique, yet accessible voice with incredible phrasing comes in and sings of the “Last Plane Out.” I’m sure you know from previous reviews what a fan I am of Kevin Gilbert. This is the first release that many of us were exposed to, his collaboration with producer Patrick Leonard. Go to the website, if you’d like to read an interesting story on how this partnership came about.
Next up is a catchy ditty about Salvador Dali, “Turn It On Salvador.” Then “Things She Said,” a song that at first listen catches you a bit off guard as it segues from an incredible verse into the friendly chorus. The more you listen however, you recognize its genius. Another stroke of brilliance is the repetition of a single note at the start and throughout the verse of the next song, “Remember My Name.” This shouldn’t work musically, but it does and how.
The title song, the lovely “The Toy Matinee” comes next and slows it down a bit with a haunting and lilting melody. “Queen of Misery” pops and jumps as Kevin seems to be singing about his relationship with pop idol Madonna. I love the clever lyrics in “The Ballad of Jenny Ledge,” another possibly autobiographical song where Kevin sings of his girlfriend running off with a Vegas Elvis impersonator. I truly connected with the story told in “There Was a Little Boy.” Kevin seemed to peering into much of my childhood (and maybe yours) as he sings of growing up fatherless with a mother that was searching for love everywhere but at home.
It’s a true gift to write a song that feels like it’s an end to an album and then put it exactly where it belongs. “We Always Come Home” feels like you’re at the end of a long journey taken through a talent who can do it all, outstanding production, non-paralleled songwriting, fantastic vocals, impeccable musicianship… A true renaissance man. The quality of this CD does not diminish from the opening harmonies to the final note. Recommended for fans of intelligent Pop/AOR Prog like Mr. Mister, Rabin-era Yes, Go West, Level 42 and 80’s Genesis.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on July 30th, 2010