Wednesday, September 16, 2020

LIONVILLE: "Magic Is Alive"

Rating: RRRR
Label: Frontiers 2020
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

'Magic Is Alive' according to the Italo lads of Lionville and that's 80's Magic, people. Indeed. They are raving and singing about the 80's scene, hanging out the Rainbow (the most famous bar at the sunset strip) at the same time as they proudly proclaim that 'We can rise' and that 80's music plays on the radio. It's no doubt the overall good-great feeling and having Lars Säfsund from Work Of Art on vocals turned out to be a massive game changer.

Indeed. They mix powerhouse vox with fragments of 'Luke' guitardom, stabbing keyboards, poppy AOR, and the odd splash of yacht and westcoast rock. They explore some interesting corners on their 4th album and tend to plunder their influences (Toto, Richard Marx, Journey, Bad English, Survivor, Foreigner, Signal, etc.) with little or no shame. Only lacking the depth and timeless legency of their heores, this album is a lot of fun, showing a keen AOR sensibility and ear for clinical sonic effects and smoothing surprises. Opener "Nothing Without You" may also display the magical touch of the one and only Signal album.

Stefano Lionetti, their main songwriter and guitarist from Genova, Italy, now display a knack for coming up with the goodies and it's got that flashy mid/late eighties vibe going on at eleven. Instantly recognizable AOR yet insanely catchy and richly layered through Lionetti's fine combination of guitar-driven hi-tech production and power-pop, it may come as a mild surprise to realise just how happy-poppy there are. Simply check out the smoothly stuff of "Runaway" and try telling me it's not catchy/poppy AOR??? Truth be told. Lars does it better than any Italo born vocalist (that I'm aware of) and I may sound like a hater (which I'm not), but it's difficult to find a more impressive AOR singer in the land of pizza and pasta.

Final verdict: Lionville has recorded an wonderful little album in/of true eighties vibe and style. Play it loud, play it proud. It's one of those albums that will instantly put a happy face of yer sad and lonely figure. Recommended!

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