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Lane, Lana: Red Planet Boulevard

Good reviewers never repeat the verbiage in the press kit, but this one contains a few phrases that describe this music perfectly. So let's break the rule just this once:

...grand, soaring melodies...
...bombastic and moody, clear and heavy, intimate and extroverted....

Lana Lane's music is heavier than most progressive-oriented rock, and although there are metallic overtones, it isn't metal. There are powerful rhythms, excellent guitar solos courtesy of Peer Verschuren, and rich keyboard tones provided by Erik Norlander. So it has broad appeal and much to attract listeners from the progressive, the hard rock, and the metal fanbases.

Red Planet Boulevard is characterized by clean songwriting, rich melodies and intelligent lyrics - which collectively give some songs the feel of a metal-oriented singer/songwriter piece. Each song tells a story or has a purpose. The ballad "Jessica" is a powerful piece with an excellent, slow, guitar solo midway through the piece. "Sepford, USA" describes the Stepford Wives movie (the original, not the corny remake) in melancholy, ironic tones. "Angels and Magicians" is a solid rocker with an anthemic chorus and wonderful guitarwork - both acoustic and electric. And although it isn't a concept piece, you'll appreciate the way the closing all-instrumental (title) track contains references to and themes from all of the prior songs. It's complex, lush, wonderfully orchestrated, and provides the perfect way to close the record. It's eight minutes long, but despite its lack of Lana's wonderful vocals, you'll wish it was sixteen minutes - or more.

We understand the artwork is provided by Polish surrealist Jacek Yerka - and it may find a mixed reception. Attractive and modern, it features a sunset sky with objects floating about randomly. Still, the whole album is well packaged and features great melodies, powerful musicianship, excellent production, and a perfectly controlled vocal delivery with an appealing timbre. With its the bombastic and moody ... grand, soaring melodies, so eloquently described by the presskit, this is a high-quality release and should be heard.

Track Listing:
1. Into The Fire
2. The Frozen Sea
3. Capture The Sun
4. Jessica
5. Sepford, USA
6. Shine
7. Lazy Summer Day
8. No Tears Left
9. Save The World
10.Angels And Magicians
11.The Sheltering Sorrow
12.Red Planet Boulevard

Added: December 23rd 2007
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: The Artist's Website
Hits: 5120
Language: english

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Lane, Lana: Red Planet Boulevard
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-12-23 13:42:27
My Score:

Epic, melodic, grandiose, symphonic, and heavy...characteristics that normally describe just about any release involving Lana Lane and Erik Norlander, and Red Planet Boulevard is certainly no exception. Red Planet Boulevard sees Lana and Erik (who also plays bass on the album) joined once again by the vastly talented and underrated Peer Verschuren (guitar) and Ernst Van Ee (drums), both of whom have been playing with the duo for a few years now. More of a ballsy rock record and less reliant on symphonics, Red Planet Boulevard contains far fewer keyboard flourishes from Norlander, instead allowing Verschuren to cement the sound alongside the soaring vocals from Lana. Tracks like "Into the Fire" and "Capture the Sun" bristle with Peer's muscular riffs, although you can still hear Norlander's synth tones painting a colorful backdrop. Considering that Erik normally doesn't contribute bass to any of his recorded projects, his playing here is very tight and melodic, really locking in with the powerful drum fills of Van Ee. The real star of the show though is of course Lana, whose rich & dramatic vocals have long been one of the best of the hard rock genre. Her powerful tone rips through "Jessica", the upbeat rocker "Shine", the catchy "No Tears Left" (which, in a perfect world, could easily be a rock radio hit), and the heavy/prog rock track "Angels and Magicians". There's even a wild, 70's Uriah Heep inspired instrumental that closes out the CD, ironically the title track, which gives the players a spot to throw in some chops that is otherwise missing from much of the album.

That's the main difference here, there's less reliance on flash or solos, more on the songs, melodies, and Lana's vocals. So, you can expect more ballads, more hard rock, less prog or metal. And that's OK, as the end result is still a batch of memorable songs with plenty of hooks and muscle. Hopefully, someday, sooner rather than later, folks here in the US will discover Lana Lane and cherish her like so many other parts of the world have.

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