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Lionville - Lionville

posted 28 Jul 2011, 17:34 by Paul Woodward

(Avenue Of Allies)

Review by Woody

Lionville is a project put together by Italian main man Stefano Lionetti who composes most of the music on the album and plays guitar and also vocals, mostly backing, on the album. Joining Stefano in the core band is main singer Lars Safsund of Work of Art, Pierpaolo Monti from fellow Italian AOR band Shining Line on Drums and keyboard wiz Alessandro Del Vecchio. The album contains loads of guest performances including Tommy Denander (Guitar), Mario Percudani (Guitar), Andrea Maddalone (Guitar), Sven Larsson (Guitar), Bruce Gaitsch (Guitar), Amos Monti (Bass), Anna Portalupi (Bass), Erik Martensson (Backing Vocals) & Arabella Vitanc (Lead & Backing Vocals). Although Lionville sounds like a project with many musicians input, it does have a cohesive and linear band sound to it, giving Lionville its own identity!

Blown away would be an understatement of my first reaction to the first play of the album, pure AOR at its finest. Sort of coming out the blue from mainly previously unknown main musicians, very much like Pierpaolo Monti’s own band Shining Line did last year, and creating a major impact. This debut album is full of what is great about the pure AOR sound, summery feel good songs with huge choruses, upfront and intricate keyboard work, intensely melodic guitar riffs and licks and of course warm and unforgettable vocals and layered harmonies. I’m sure this album will be a major winner with the majority of the AOR fan base and see them going ape shit over this solid collection of tracks. Not sure the album will win over fans outside the genre as it’s sound is very influenced by the sound of the 80’s, although never feeling tired or retro I’m not sure it will appeal to the kerrang generation – I don’t see that as a bad thing though diversity is the spice of life I feel! Even if it doesn’t equal mainstream financial success. This album is crafted with love of the music that is plain to hear not for the promise of riches.

Lars Safsund is an inspired choice for front man as his vocals are not only perfect in their performance on this album but also perfect for this brand of pure AOR. Big shout out has to go to Keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio who does a wonderful job on this album and is my second favourite key’s man (James Martin of Vega is number one duh!). Del Vecchio has played on many types of albums and he is an extremely accomplished and versatile musician and a real asset to the current melodic rock scene as he has a real ear for what works on different styles of songs. Obviously the main nod for this wonderful album has to go to Stefano who composed and put together this stupendous slab of AOR, which will get stuck in many genre fans stereo’s, Car stereos and Ipoggle thingy majiggys for many years to come!

Del Vecchio’s keys are awesome on opener “Here By My Side” with a strong guitar riff from Andrea Maddalone which also has a killer traditional big AOR chorus. An instant hit from the get go, an almost perfect slice of AOR goodness. “With You” has a great build up to its bright and breezy chorus. Top notch key’s again with a very memorable Keyboard riff and hold your breath a keyboard solo!!!! Lots of hook filled guitar licks and Lars’s soaring vocals make this song irresistible. The Toto-esque “Centre Of My Universe” is a west coast ballad which creates a great upbeat atmosphere – Nice and Fluffy!!!

“Thunder In Your Heart” is a full force AOR rocker with a big ass chorus filled with soaring harmonies and an outstanding memorable melody. There is a really cool drive to this song’s tempo I really like. “World Without Your Love” has music written by Richard Marx and Bruce Gaitsch and it’s a ballad that really has that Marx stamp all over it. Safsund’s vocals excel on this track accompanied by more fabulous keys from Del Vecchio – a top class west coast ballad! “Power Of My Dreams” is an AOR rocker with an air guitar inducing guitar riff and in my case air keyboards. The pre-chorus on this song really kills before kicking into an awesome sing-along chorus. Great Key’s, Great Guitar’s, Great Vocal’s – does it get much better than this?

“No End In Sight” has some phenomenal guitar work from guest Sven Larsson on this mid-tempo ballad. West Coast AOR at its finest with a fantastic summery ambience to the chorus with an incredible melody which will never leave you. “The Chosen Ones” contains some excellent catchy as hell guitar riffs and lyrics courtesy of Tommy Denander & Mario Percudani. This song features an amazing vocal performance form the amazing Arabella Vitanc (Alyson Avenue) on this killer rocking duet. The pre-chorus has a massive hook and I can’t get it out of my head and has an unforgettable guitar riff and a top notch soaring AOR chorus.

West Coast ballad “Over & Over Again” has a very 80’s vibe, with a sweeping chorus that washes over you joyously. Stefano takes up lead vocals on this track along with some excellent backing vocals and harmonies make this tune unforgettable. “Dreamhunter” is a Journey-esque rocker with some cool guitar work from Mario Percudani full of hooks. Has a big summertime pure AOR chorus. “Say Goodbye” is a great acoustic ballad and features a standout vocal performance from Sarsfund. It has a bittersweet, end of the summer days and timeless tone to it.

Lionville is a master class in pure AOR; genre fans will poop their pants excessively with delight upon hearing this. Definitely an album for pure and west coast AOR fans to check out. It's a perfect album for the summer, although I’m not sure when this year’s is going to kick in! Stefano more of the same please!

 

Track Listing: Here By My Side / With You / Centre Of My Universe / Thunder In Your Heart / The World Without Your Love / Power Of My Dreams / No End In Sight / The Chosen Ones / Over & Over Again / Dreamhunter / Say Goodbye

Album Rating: 5/5

Woody’s Essential Track: The Chosen Ones

Lionville is out now and available from all good retailers and www.destinyrocks.com

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