Phil Lanzon is currently the keyboardist for UK rock legends Uriah Heep but on his days off he has created 48 Seconds which is the follow up to his first solo effort If You Think I’m Crazy.
Aswell as Uriah Heep, whom he joined in 1986, Lanzon has a CV as long as your arm. Too long to list, notables he’s worked with are Grand Prix, Mick Ronson and Lionheart.
Lanzon has a very prominent role in Uriah Heep where their tracks are heavy, melodic and often rousing, being driven forcefully by his keyboards. This album is no different, where melody takes front and center.
Whilst Lanzon’s keyboards are clearly prominent throughout, this is no “look at me, look at me, I’m so great” finger twiddling wankfest. Great credit has to be given to Lanzon for his restraint and how the songs are allowed to breathe and speak for themselves.
Phil Lanzon has a love of film scores and the opening instrumental “Azura’s Theme” demonstrates this. Sweeping keys backed by violins make this a lovely opener.
Whilst not exactly having a cast of thousands supporting him on this album Lanzon has enlisted the aid of numerous artists to great effect.
He shares lead vocals with John Mitchell, Andy Makin and Miriam Grey with Neal Wilkinson on drums and Adam Goldsmith and Mick O’Donohue on guitar. There is also an appearance by the London Telefilmonic Orchestra, plus added violins, sax, trumpets and cellos. Plenty to get your teeth into.
The first vocals appear on second track “In The Rain”, a steady mid-paced rocker with a pleasing pace and melody.
“Forty Line” is up next and if you’re familiar with Cats In Space, then you’ll get the picture. It starts off with great melody then halfway through turns into a big band standard with pumping trumpets and a swinging vibe. Love it.
Female vocals duly arrive on “Rock n Roll Children”. Not a cover of the Dio classic but a cracking track all the same. Full of drama, pathos and bombast, this song has it all, and more.
“Blue Mountain” is classic AOR. There’s a mellow start building to passionate vocals and chorus. Melody and flow lead to a Brian May inspired solo before a bit of a Lanzon special. A top-notch track.
The jaunty “Look at the Time” follows which feels a bit formulaic but is enjoyable all the same.
Phil Lanzon goes all folk on “Road to London”, a ghostly tale of love and loss. It is a lovely break from what has come before.
Choppy riffs open “You Can Make a Living” which is the heaviest song on the album, although the word “heavy” may be a bit misleading…
“Face to Face” bemoans the rise of social media and the fall of direct communication. A lovely male/female duet with plenty of opportunities for the listener to join in with a hearty “whoa!”.
It’s big finish time with the title track, “48 Seconds”. This track commemorates the tragic San Francisco earthquake of 1906. It has a film score beginning but then transforms into a song which could be in a musical. That’s not to decry the song; it’s a total winner, full of choral work, atmosphere and interest.
48 Seconds is a great album, especially if your rock sensibilities lie on the milder side. If melodic rock is your thing, get your hands on it.
The album is out now on Phil Lanzon Ditties.