PHIL LANZON – 48 Seconds (2019)
“48 Seconds” is the brand new solo album from the Uriah Heep keyboard man PHIL LANZON, who has been working with the band since the ’80s but also finds time for a solo career. Phil has teamed up with producer Simon Hanhart and arranger Richard Cottle (Charlie, Alan Parsons, John Parr), a legendary session man who also play various instruments. With his love of film score, he has created a sometimes-cinematic backdrop to his songs enabling drama and emotion to fly hand in hand.
With a journey from orchestral instrumental to hard rock, from ballad to the epic title track ’48 Seconds’ which commemorates the 1906 earthquake of San Francisco, the listener is in for a treat here.
While natural disasters are not the typical subject matter found in rock songs, “48 Seconds” is an orchestral opus that displays Lanzon’s deftness as a composer.
Lanzon explains how the song came about:
“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.”
After doing extensive research on the earthquake, Lanzon had the lyrical makeup of “48 Seconds” to put to music. 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.”
The rest of the material is much more ‘song format’, always with style, class, and melody all over.
The stupendous ‘In The Rain’ sounds like a mix of commercial Asia, 1986 Yes, Deep Purple and 1990 Bad Company. I love this song since first listen.
Despite its title, ‘Rock N Roll Children’ is a slow, midtempo rocker with rich instrumentation, ‘Blue Mountain’ is poppy AORish with even some Mike + The Mechanics on it, while ‘Look At The Time’ rocks with drama and layers of harmonies.
‘You Can Make A Living’ is another favorite of mine, a driven rocker with a classic rock pulse and Phil’s great Hammond runs all over. Then ‘Face To Face’ is some kind of a semi-ballad, with pianos and some orchestration, a wonderful blend of early Fleetwood Mack and Alan Parsons.
The album production is impeccable, and the mix perfect, something these layers of multi-track recordings needed.
Class album, Highly, Highly Recommended
01. Azura’s Theme (Instrumental)
02. In The Rain
03. Forty Line
04. Rock N Roll Children
05. Blue Mountain
06. Look At The Time
07. Road To London
08. You Can Make A Living
09. Face To Face
10. 48 Seconds
Phil Lanzon – Keys, lead vocals (Uriah Heep, Grand Prix, Sweet)
John Mitchell – Lead vocals (Arena, Frost, Kino, It Bites)
Andy Makin – Lead vocals
Richard Cottle – Additional keys, Saxes (Charlie, Alan Parsons, John Parr)
Neal Wilkinson – Drums
Adam Goldsmith – Guitar
Mick O’Donohue – Giutar
Miriam Grey – Lead vocals, background vocals
Phoebe Street, Andy Caine, Andy Playfoot – Background vocals
Chris Haigh – Violin solo
Richard Harwood – Cello solo
Levine Andrade – Viola solo
London Telefilmonic Orchestra – Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass