THREE LIONS – Three Lions [Japan Edition +1]

THREE LIONS - Three Lions [Japan release] (2014) full

THREE LIONS is the British beast consisting of Vinny Burns (Dare, Ten, Asia) on guitar, Greg Morgan (Dare, Ten) on drums and Nigel Bailey (Dirty White Boyz, Lifeline) on vocals & bass which released their self-titled debut on Frontiers Records, and Avalon / Marquee Japan including a bonus track.

Take a trio of talented cats, consisting of two-thirds of the musicians whose legendary status has already been deservedly attained in the Melodic Rock scene. Add some classic rock inspirations and brilliant songwriting. Stir together with a producer with the apparent Midas touch and spice up with some infectious, catchy melodies and solid instrumental backing.

This ‘recipe’ was followed by the powerful trio under the name Three Lions, closely enough to result in a perfect AOR / Melodic Rock album. With Alessandro Del Vecchio behind the console (his above Midas touch engaged also in some of the songwriting), the result of what they’ve rustled up in the studio is simply stunning.

In the first track “Trouble In A Red Dress”, the lyrical ego narrates: “… She came to the party after the show … isn’t that how the trouble starts…?” The story goes on, illustrated with a brilliant, infectious melody and a rich guitar work; it’s pure Melodic Rock with an AOR spirit which might as well be released thirty years ago.

“Hold Me Down” is more mellow, a lite AOR mid-tempo song, with “Twisted Soul”, the band delivers a dose of feisty, guitar-oriented British Melodic Rock with a catchy chorus. The latter’s follow-up “Winter Sun” explodes with wailing guitar sounds, developing into a wistful piece of wonderful mid-tempo balladry.
With the guitar-laden melancholy slowly fading, the next thing the listener’s treated with is “Just A Man” – a dynamic, yet polished song with harmonized vocals, the one that could end up on any Survivor or, especially, Jimi Jamison’s solo albums. A personal favorite for sure.

Groovy guitars and the great bluesy hook of “Holy Water” (ala John Sykes / Blue Murder) precede a soaring yet meaty power ballad “Two Hearts Beat As One”, a terrific cut with a strong Foreigner feel.
Particularly interesting is the storytelling track “Kathmandu” starting off with an oriental, Eastern-influenced intro and based on a slower lumbering riff. “Made For One Another” is a strong AOR midtempo that I can see performed live surrounded by thousand lighters held up in the air.

“Magdalene” is Magnum Vigilante / Goodnight L.A. era revisited, a keyboard-driven, awesome hooky rocker plenty of that ’80s atmosphere.
Next track “Don’t Let Me Fall” is a really stylized AOR number recalling the guy’s previous band Dare and why not, Strangeways, really polished and adorned by lovable vintage keyboards.

There is also “Hellfire Highway” – an intense keyboard / guitar duel kind of song with massive chorus, another AOR masterpiece – and the final “Sicilian Kiss”, a piece of sublime instrumental wizardry with a bit darker and somewhat dramatic vibes to it. It’s a beautiful guitar-oriented coda to this truly greatly-crafted MR / AOR gem of a CD.
The Japanese bonus track is an acoustic version of “Don’t Let Me Fall”, and really worth it because it’s totally different from the original: just piano & vocals alone.

THREE LIONS - Three Lions [Japan release] (2014) back cover

Three Lions’ self-titled debut is a perfect balance between instrumental prowess and great melodies, catchy hooks and dynamic guitar work, with not so distant echoes of where two of the three musicians come from music-wise (Dare, Ten).

Speaking shortly, it’s what album-oriented rock should stand for in the first place and as long as you’re into AOR, no matter if you think classics such as Survivor and Journey or 21st century representatives of the genre, you’re going to love this one.
These 3 Lions roar, believe me.

Avalon / Marquee 【MICP-11147】
3   L I O N S

01 – Trouble In A Red Dress
02 – Hold Me Down
03 – Twisted Soul
04 – Winter Sun
05 – Just A Man (Not Divine)
06 – Holy Water
07 – Two Hearts Beat As One
08 – Kathmandu
09 – Made For One Another
10 – Magdalene
11 – Don’t Let Me Fall
12 – Hellfire Highway
13 – Sicilian Kiss
14 – Don’t Let Me Fall (Acoustic Version)

Nigel Bailey – Lead Vocals, Bass
Vinny Burns (Dare, Ten, Asia) – Guitars, Keyboards
Greg Morgan (Dare, Ten) – Drums
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Keyboards, Production


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