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Lanzon, Phil: 48 Seconds

You wait all your life for a solo album from, amongst many, Uriah Heep, Grand Prix and Lionheart keyboard expert Phil Lanzon and then within a couple of years two appear almost at once! And with 2017’s If You Think I’m Crazy! creating quite the stir with critics and fans through its wide outlook and phenomenal and varied melodic rock with a theatrical edge, maybe it’s no surprise that Lanzon has been emboldened to offer up a second helping so soon after. The results are called 48 Seconds and it follows a similar path of highlighting Lanzon’s musical likes. The journey begins with the soaring lilt of strings and synths that is “Azura’s Theme”, its grandiose effects immediately pulling you in and invigorating the senses. Lanzon has spoken recently of his love of film scores and there’s no doubt that it shows here and in different ways across an album that can, rather contradictorily, be described as gently bombastic.

“In The Rain” reminds of (the much underrated) John Payne era Asia, the wide sweeps of keys built up through the wonderful vocals of guest singer John Mitchell alongside a sturdy riff and a deeply melodic core. From there a Cats In Space like 70s rock sprawl is given a boot of Meat Loaf over the topness where big band swing careens into view and you’re left singing the chorus for weeks on end. And with the top-line brass even evoking a little Magical Mystery era Beatles, the reference and jumping on points just keep on coming. It’s also worth mentioning that with strings, brass, a rock solid band and wonderful vocals from Andy Makin and Miriam Grey, Lanzon, while always pushing and pulling the direction from behind his bank of keys, is no spotlight hogger. The real strength of this and his previous solo outing being the incredibly strong songwriting.

Grey positively bursts onto the vocal scene on the change of mood and tempo that “Rock N Roll Children” and its message that youth often knows a better way forward provides. With “Blue Mountain” standing tall in that Cats In Space vein once more and the Hammond driven Uriah Heep meets John Wetton of “Look At The Time” keepings things bubbling along expertly, it might just be the jaunty sway of “Road To London” that unassumingly comes in a steals the day. Lanzon is behind the mic here and his unforced vocals lead a song the takes us into restrained, controlled Heep territory with real style and panache. It’s not the most immediate of moments but given time the easy mood really gets under your skin in the most wonderfully infectious fashion.

With only ten tracks on show proceedings are kept tight, with no wastage or dips in quality; the grinding riff from Adam Goldsmith and Mick O’Donohue and forceful drumming courtesy of Neal Wilkinson really coming to the fore on “You Can Make A Living”, which not only possesses a jaw dropping guitar solo but also sounds like a brand new Heep classic in their current style. All of which asks “Face To Face” to change the mood by being a string led tug on the heart where Grey once more shines, before leaving the near ten minute closer of the album’s title track to sign things off in epic style.

Credit is also due to Lanzon’s co-collaborators, producer Simon Hanhart and arranger Richard Cottle, for while the performances on this album are top notch, it’s the way in which these expertly crafted songs are presented that truly makes this album an absolute winner. On this form, let’s hope that Phil Lanzon’s new found taste for the solo life continues apace, because both this and If You Think I’m Crazy! have been nothing short of a revelation!

Track Listing
1. Azura’s Theme (Instrumental)
2. In The Rain
3. Forty Line
4. Rock N Roll Children
5. Blue Mountain
6. Look At The Time
7. Road To London
8. You Can Make A Living
9. Face To Face
10. 48 Seconds

Added: August 19th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Phil Lanzon online
Hits: 1471
Language: english

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