It's 1999 and James LaBrie has released his first "solo album", a term used lightly as this is still a group collaboration, despite being mostly considered a James LaBrie "project". It sounds similar to Dream Theater (no way?!?!), but that's not a criticism. In fact, something interesting to note about this album is that it was supposedly written and recorded by all the musicians separately, exchanging ideas through post and emails. That's a common thing these days, but back in 1999 it was still quite an ambitious undertaking.
Still, I'm not going to use that as an excuse for the relatively average quality of the songs. They're not terrible, but they all sound pretty disjointed, lacking the soul of a song that was created through spontaneous jam sessions of people sat in the same room together.
Besides LaBrie on vocals, you have some heavy hitters like Mike Mangini on drums, Matt Guillory on keyboards and Mike Keneally on guitars. It's a shame there just doesn't seem to be any chemistry going on between them all. But hey, criticisms aside, some of the songs are pretty good. 'His Voice', 'Guardian Angel' and 'Shores of Avalon' are all redeeming qualities of 'Keep It To Yourself'. Sadly, then there's also songs like 'Beelzebubba'. It has an almost Faith No More vibe to it. It sounds experimental and I appreciate what the group were attempting here. But come on... there's only so many times I can tolerate hearing James LaBrie singing "Slick Willy"...
It's certainly not going to be on anyone's "best albums of 1999" list, but it's not a bad addition to the collection if you stumble across it cheap. Ultimately, it's Jame LaBrie, so there's bound to be plenty of Dream Theater fanatics out there (like me) who need to own everything the band and its members put out, anyway.