Josh Ramos and Hugo Valenti has recorded classic AOR albums with The Storm, Valentine and Open Skyz in the late 80s and early 90s. Hugo released a fantastic solo album 1997 but they have not lived up to those albums for a long time. Josh has released albums with Two Fires, Ramos and Hardline that has not been close to the classic albums and Hugo’s 2 other solo albums has been weak. So now they have put their acts together and released a new album for Frontiers Records that is filled with Journey inspired AOR but far away from the same quality. They show on a couple of tracks that they can write strong AOR songs with nice melodies and strong AOR hooklines. Hugo sounds and looks a lot like Steve Perry and Josh Ramos plays guitar by the Neal Schon book but not as good though.
The production has been handled by Fabrizio Grossi and its ok but it could have had a little more power in it but I think Dennis Ward has saved this album with his mix because it sounds OK. You’re Not Alone and All That I Wanted sounds very much Journey and Hugo’s first solo album and those are the best songs of the album. Most of the songs are in mid-tempo or ballads and I miss a couple of rockers to fire up this album to a higher level. When You Get Lonely is a strong up-tempo AOR-rocker with great riffs and a strong chorus. The Dream is a ballad that smells Journey for miles, a nice one but feels like a left over from a Journey album.
Guests on the album are John Macaluso (Riot, Malmsteen, Starbreaker) drums and Eric Ragno (ex. Takara, China Blue) keyboards to fill up the line-up. The debut album from this alliance has it moments and its not that bad at all - I must say that this is their best work for years. This is a promising debut from this new team called Ramos~Hugo and hopefully they get inspired to do a follow up to this that could be even better.