Title - '48 Seconds' [2LP Colored Vinyl]
Artist - Phil Lanzon
For those not in the know, Phil Lanzon is the keyboardist for British rock group Uriah Heep and has been since since 1986.
Furthermore, Lanzon has worked both as a session musician and sideman with Grand Prix, Grant & Forsyth, John Lawton (former Uriah Heep-member), Mick Ronson, Chris Spedding, and Sweet, among others.
Lanzon released his debut solo album If You Think I'm Crazy! in 2017 and it sold well and rightly garnered rave reviews from all around the world. For it he introduced a small orchestra and choir into his songs and used an array of different singers and musicians.
In much the same vein, Lanzon continues on with his love of movie scores and orchestral / choir arrangements on his sophomore solo album, the just-released 48 Seconds (via Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK).
Having enlisted a slightly larger orchestra (the London Telefilmonic Orchestra) this time to embellish this new set of 10 tracks, as with his debut solo album, Lanzon (now a published author with his first novel 'Curse of the Mudchalk Devil' - which came out in April 2019 and is published by Pegasus Publishers) has once again teamed up with producer Simon Hanhart and arranger Richard Cottle.
With the incredible artwork having been created by Michael Cheval, and with some songs also layered with a little brass section here and there, 48 Seconds is an elevated cinematic hipsway that embraces both drama and emotion in equal measures.
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'
The ethereal yearning of the quite stunningly alive instrumental 'Azura's Theme (Instrumental)' sets the scene from the off and that is backed by the melodic rock storytelling of 'In The Rain.'
Sharing lead vocals with John Mitchell, Andy Makin and Miriam Grey, a contender for my favorite track on the album (this listen round) is up next in the form of the all-inclusive mid-tempo bounce of 'Forty Line.'
A track that floats us lovingly back to better, kinder days and inclusive of a massive big band swing movement as it heads into the last verse, if those pumped up trumpets and swinging vibe don't get your feet tappin' and fingers snappin' you might need to get your ears checked out!
The beautifully big 'Rock N Roll Children' stirringly sung by Miriam Grey is backed seamlessly by the euphorically passionate vocalization of 'Blue Mountain,' with the frenetic pop rock vibe of 'Look At The Time' backing it.
The folky troubadour within Lanzon next recounts a past tale of a love lost in the renaissance-flavored 'Road To London' and that's followed by a trip back to the early '70s on the funky groove and Daltrey-esque 'You Can Make A Living.'
A track first written in the late '90s by Lanzon, it was actually a comedy spoof in the style of Frank Zappa that was designed to take the mickey out of musicians who never achieved their dreams!
Having set to re-writing the original verses to recreate a more positive and inspirational lyric, the song is definitely another one of the stand out highlights of this new album.
This quite magnificent, vibrant, and just so alive album then brings forth the magnificent, orchestrally soaring duet 'Face To Face.' Once again featuring Miriam Grey, this tale that bemoans the rise of social media and the fall of direct communication between people comes complete with an orchestral film score interlude that virtually begs for your undivided attention.
The album then rounds out with its longest track, the stirring and emotively dynamic title track '48 Seconds.' A once long forgotten and left on a dusty shelf song about the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 (the title a reference to the actual length of the event), now inclusive of a full orchestra and children's choir, we follow along with two specially created characters within the story as the devastation befalls them.
A busy prog rock opus inclusive of some immersive choral work of the highest order, once the story has unfolded the aforementioned children's choir then come to the fore to bring the track to a most resoundingly poignant close.
As for where the inspiration of the title track '48 Seconds' first originated, Lanzon himself explains: "I started to get into books at the age of about 10. While sifting through my local library I came across a book called The San Francisco Earthquake."
"The title caught my attention as I had no idea about natural disasters at the time. The book left a huge impression on me and later I realized it was empathy for the people who suffered and the wonder of the power of nature that somehow gripped my sub-conscious.”
The story, he says, has a lot of ups and downs. “It starts optimistically. Then it becomes very sad. But it ends optimistically, with a message.”
The elaborate composition, which is just under 10 minutes in length, was recorded with a 23-piece orchestra along with guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums, as well as a choir of more than 60 people.
Musicians - Phil Lanzon - Keys and lead vocals; John Mitchell - Lead vocals; Andy Makin - Lead vocals; Richard Cottle - Additional keys, Saxes; Neal Wilkinson - Drums; Adam Goldsmith - Guitar; Mick O'Donohue - Guitar; Miriam Grey - Lead vocals, background vocals; Phoebe Street, Andy Caine, Andy Playfoot - Background vocals; Tom Walsh - Trumpets; Clare Mcinerney - Saxes; Neil Sidwell - Trombones; Chris Haigh - Violin solo; Richard Harwood - Cello solo; Levine Andrade - Viola solo; and London Telefilmonic Orchestra - Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Double Bass.
Distributed by Cargo Records, the album will be available on CD, double gatefold colored vinyl and all digital outlets.
Official AUTOGRAPHED 2LP Purchase Link
Official CD + Digital Purchase Link
Official 'Curse of the Mudchalk Devil' Book Purchase Link