Lovescape frames Neil Diamond's typically strong, if a little over-dramatic, vocal style with plinking keyboards, cooing backup singers, and hissing, breathy synthesizers. It's all drenched in the kind of reverb that screams "lite rock radio sap." Fortunately, Diamond's wine-stained voice is still full of emotion and more than capable of closing the album's gaping holes with a just-right emphasis here and a plaintive growl there. "Mountains of Love"'s sanitized world beat groove and keening horns would shrivel in anyone else's hands. But when Neil sings "Come on let's go/We've got room on that mountain of love," you want to believe in his feed-the-world message and follow him right to the top of the peak (how does he climb in those ankle boots?). A strummed acoustic guitar slows down the Hammond/Warren composition "Don't Turn Around," letting it breathe like the classic "Red Red Wine" -- Diamond's take has none of the mechanization of Ace of Base's later hit version. He has written or co-written 11 of Lovescape's 15 tracks, and it's his lilting, bruised heart duet with Kim Carnes that's the obvious standout. Elsewhere, he covers "One Hand, One Heart" from West Side Story, refueling the ballad with his typical message of unification and peace, and buoys the faint country feel of "When You Miss Your Love" with a deft vocal touch, never letting it drift into dangerous Elton John territory. Although heaping helpings of synthesizer do their worst to slow him down, Diamond does his best with Lovescape's material, and salvages a handful of memorable moments for longtime listeners or the casual fan.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus
feat: Kim Carnes