As often happens with supremely talented musical whizzkids, they feel the need every once in a while to go off and do an album so completely over-indulgent as a means to show off their chops. So it was somewhat of a surprise that Derek Sherinian's new exercise in keyboard wizardry Oceana is, by comparison, rather understated; yes, it is still a record of instrumentals filled with enough showmanship to last a lifetime, but these pieces are actually songs!
Rather startlingly, the keyboards fade for the most part into the background; the tunes being primarily guitar-led with the help of a few friends you may have heard of, including Joe Bonamassa and Doug Aldrich, and Derek's dancing fingers stepping forward once or twice a track for a suitably fancy solo break. The music itself also steps away from his current work with Black Country Communion, flicking between the proggy leanings of the likes of 'Ghost Runner' and jazzier meanderings such as 'Euphoria'. All told, despite the illustrious guests and varying styles, Oceana falls into something of a musical stupor brought on by thinking it's cleverer than it actually is.
Keyboard wizard in restrained album shocker.