James LaBrie: Beautiful Shade Of Grey album review

James LaBrie delves into the complexities of human relationships on fifth solo album Beautiful Shade Of Grey

James LaBrie: Beautiful Shade Of Grey cover art
(Image: © Inside Out)

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He doesn’t exactly dominate the credits on Dream Theater albums, but singer James LaBrie has no problem finding enough material for his own career. 

On this, his fourth solo album (sixth if you include the two albums he recorded as Mullmuzzler), he delves into the complexities of human relationships, which can be hard to do without getting judgemental but he manages to avoid that… mostly. He also steers clear of the other 49 shades of grey.

His band – guitarist Marco Sfogli, bassist/acoustic guitarist Paul Logue and keyboard player Christian Pulkkinen from British melodic metallers Eden’s Curse – occasionally veer towards the portentous. 

But they're better when they play with a lighter touch, which works particularly well on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On.

Hugh Fielder

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.