Band: Lana Lane

CD Title: “Red Planet Boulevard

Band Website: www.lanalane.com

Label: ProgRock Records

Label Website: www.progrockrecords.com

Release Date: 2007

 

There is an expression that is applied to people who are somewhat unknown in their home-country but perhaps very popular somewhere else…we say they are “big in Japan.” Then there is an artist like Lana Lane who really is big in Japan and very popular in Europe and many other parts of the world. Well over a decade of recording and touring has delivered a large and loyal fan base. Lane is back with her 14th recording this time consisting of all new original material entitled Red Planet Boulevard.

 

This time around Lana Lane is working with a pared down group of musicians, in fact it’s only trio, but it includes some familiar names. While husband Erik Norlander is present on bass and keyboards, they are assisted by Dutchmen Peer Verschuren (guitars) and Ernst Van Ee (drums) both of whom were part of the previous touring band. The new disc consists of 12 compositions all loosely themed around some aspect of fire. Musically the sound is sharp and crisp taking its cue from a late eighties hard rock style with just a hint of prog-metal rearing its head in the sound of the guitar. What this means to my ear is that I hear a lot of the popular late-eighties band Heart coming through, not only in the tone of Lana Lane’s vocals but in the over all instrument sound. If Heart had decided to go in a slightly more progressive direction, this is what they might have sounded like. Most of the songs fall in the five-minute range with four of them being a bit longer. As far as how the songs sound, well, while there is a distinct nostalgic vibe happening you don’t get the feeling the music is in any way dated. It does sound very modern and up-to-date. The keyboards play a solid supporting role throughout the disc. The winning feature for most of the songs is the strong sense of melody that rises to the surface. Most of these songs are very hummable and will work very well in a live setting with the “head bob” and “one handed fist pump.” The musicianship is top-notch and Norlander’s production makes for a very clean and well separated mix. The sound is full and yet each sound is nicely isolated providing a wonderful clarity to the proceedings.

 

Lana Lane’s new disc has a ready and waiting fan base, and it’s a large one. And I’m sure the music of Red Planet Boulevard will add a few more to the ranks. While not in any way a progressive rock recording, there are proggy elements incorporated into a few of the tracks that provide for some interesting musical change-ups which will appeal to more than a few in the prog world. My guess is the cross-over quality of Red Planet Boulevard will be received quite well by new and old fans alike.

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