John O'Callaghan has featured quite prominently in recent trance compilation albums, particularly on A State of Trance (ASoT) by Armin Van Buuren. I remember being blown away in 2005 by O'Callaghan's remix of Sophie Sugar's 'Call Of Tomorrow,' and then loving 'Exactly' from 2006.
So I was pleased to find an album from the man himself. It wasn't too different to what I expected, but the main element of surprise came in his use of female vocals. I seem to keep harping on about vocals in trance songs at the moment, again particularly with reference to ASoT albums. Despite what I've said in previous reviews, vocals in trance songs can be very good, if pitched at the right time and in the right way. To put it simply, some songs on this album use vocals well, others less so.
Compared to the likes of Justine Suissa and Zoe Johnston, some of the vocalists O'Callaghan uses are somehow 'harsher' - by that, I think I mean they dominate the song too much. Others, though, fit the songs better, and of course there are a couple of tracks with no vocals. It's a bit of a mix, but the good news is none of the songs (in my opinion) are bad, which is always unusual for an album.
On the downside, aside from the vocals, none of the songs have much of an edge, and are all quite safe. There's nothing wrong with this, but I reckon O'Callaghan is capable of producing a little more with a cutting edge - in my opinion 'Exactly' and the Universal Religion Chapter 3 version of 'Big Sky' are his best two songs, neither of which feature on this album.
Nevertheless, a decent album, one that's fairly easy to listen to and could cause trance clubs to dance themselves through the roof. Typical 2009 trance.