BMG (CD, LP)
It’s unfair to judge Steve Howe’s first solo album in nine years by his iconic work for decades in Yes. Long hailed as one of the great progressive rock guitarists, one cannot expect him to move the kind of mountains he has since 1971. That said, Love Is is quite the melodic endeavor. Howe can sing. His mastery of electric/acoustic/slide guitar is peerless and he also plays keyboards, percussion and bass while writing, engineering and producing.
His muse comes from nature. He’s fond of mentioning Alexander Humboldt who warned how humans are destroying the planet. That warning came hundreds of years ago. While likening love itself to a raging river or channeling the love he has for his granddaughter into song, Howe writes melodies that will stick to your brain long after the music is over.
Consisting of five songs and five instrumentals, the prog may be downplayed in favor of a more Adult Contemporary groove, but the sound is pristine. Backed only by Jon Davison on bass and harmony vocals, plus son Dylan Howe on drums, Steve Howe plays 16 different kinds of guitars on this time-out-to-smell-the-flowers kind of minor classic
— Mike Greenblatt