Wednesday, September 20, 2017
LIONHEART - "SECOND NATURE"
LABEL: AOR HEAVEN
REVIEW BY:ALAN HOLLOWAY
When it comes to blasts from the past, hearing an album from Lionheart is like a barrel of TNT straight between the eyes. It was over 30 years ago that they released their only album, the much loved 'Hot Tonight', and like many others it's an album that I still enjoy today. Much like FM at Firefest, their appearance at the Rockingham Festival inspired them to reform and record new material, and as you can see from the high rating above it was a cracking idea.
There's a coupleof absentees from the original line up, although Guitarists Dennis Stratton and Steve Mann remain, as does Bassist Rocky Newton. Clive Edwards now warms the drum stool, whilst respetced covalist Lee Small takes centre stage. Thise who have heard Lee in the past will know what a good fit he is to this sort of AOR, and a safer pair of hands (and lips) is hard to imagine.
Openers 'Give me The Light 'and 'Angels With Dirty Faces' easily dispel any doubts the listener might have about the ability of the lads to knock up a sequel to a 33 year old album. Both have the same Lionheart vibe as 'Hot Tonight', containing beautiful melody backed up by bouncy keyboards and strong guitars. They set the 80s vibes twanging, and they remain for the whole album, as thankfully there's no attempt whatsoever to drag anything kicking and screaming anywhere. The third track is one that's got a bit of scrutiny, probably because it's a Chris De Burgh cover! Thankfully, it's not 'Lady In Red', but instead the already brilliant 'Don't Pay The Ferryman', and I'm genuinely impressed by the way Lionheart treat it with respect whilst also putting in enough touches tomake it their own version.
From these roots, the album grows and spreads it's melodic tendrils through your brain, meaning as soon as it finished you are hard pushed not to just put it straight back on again. Not counting the short, rather pointless intro there's 11 quality AOR tracks contained within, plus a dramatic outro that will most likely be skipped more often than not. Even at the arse end of the album the quality level is maintained by the likes of 'Heartbeat Radio' which sounds exactly like a song with that title should do, with a bouncy chorus and a brilliant guitar break in the middle. It's followed by a track that bears the band's name, and although it's a little heavier than most it's a fast paced belter of a track.
'Second Nature' will delight anyone who still loves the debut after all these years. Not only that, but anyone who likes melodic rock should check it out as it's a wonderful example of exactly what kind of delights the genre can produce. If Lionheart were once merely hot tonight, 'Second Nature' sees them go supernova.
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