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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Lana Lane

Gemini

Review by Gary Hill

Like the new Erik Norlander disc, this one is an album of covers. While this CD works quite well, I’d have to say I prefer the other one. Mind you, a lot of that (as any review of a disc of covers) has to do with the material chosen. In some ways the Norlander disc plays it a little safer – at least from my point of view – in choosing material. I have to say that with this one they have really stretched out more. Witness the odd marriage of a mini-suite of Pink Floyd music (from Dark Side of the Moon) to Heart’s “Johnny Moon.” Mind, you, it works well due to similarities in the source material and the skill of all involved, but it is a unique decision. Lane and Norlander fans should certainly enjoy this CD. I’d have to say that fans of classic hard rock and prog should also find plenty to like.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
White Room
This is an incredibly powerful and dramatic (albeit quite crunchy) take on this classic Cream song. This one is really quite a scorcher, but I think I prefer the original. Still, with as hot a band as Cream was, how do you beat that?
White Rabbit
Lana Lane doing the Jefferson Airplane – doesn’t it seem obvious? While they crunch this one out a bit, too, they still maintain the psychedelic texture and for my money this version is even stronger than the original. It’s like taking a classic piece of psychedelia and turning into an exceptionally powerful piece of psychedelically oriented progressive rock.
Long Way From Home
Foreigner? Well, I guess Foreigner is as good a band to cover as any, but I’ve never thought this was one of their best songs. Still, Lane’s rendition is better than the original, and while a stripped down crunch rocker, this works pretty well. I just can’t get past my bias in regards to the source material.
You Can Never Go Home
Here they turn their attention to a rather obscure Moody Blues song. This is a beautiful prog ballad that serves as a nice contrast to the fury of the previous track. It becomes more of a classic prog sound later and there is some killer keyboard work (at times sounding like Keith Emerson and others like Rick Wakeman).
Pink Moon Suite:
Breathe: Introduction
This instrumental Pink Floyd excursion works well and serves as a unique intro to the next piece of music.
Johnny Moon
They move out into this Heart song, and it works remarkably well. Hearing this it’s amazing that the track didn’t originally fit into this mix.
Breathe In The Air
Coming straight out of the previous cut we’re back into the Pink Floyd territory and Lane’s voice makes a great addition to this classic piece of music.
On The Run
Here we get the instrumental jam from the Dark Side of the Moon disc – you know the fast paced keyboard solo type of thing. I’ve always thought of this number as “a little traveling music.
Time
They move out into another Floyd classic from there. The rocking version here (this feels just a bit psychedelic as they do it) is a rather intriguing change of pace. While I’m not sure which version I prefer, it says a lot that they have me asking the question.
Breathe: Reprise
The closer to this suite is a reprise of “Breathe.” It works nicely and is presented well here.
Dream of the Archer
Always one of my favorite Heart songs, this classic prog balladic piece of music is quite strong here. Lane’s voice is always perfect for Heart tunes.
Starrider
Now this is more like it in terms of a Foreigner song. Always one of my favorites from that band, Lane’s voice really lends an air of classy progressive rock to this one. This song is a great one, and one of the highlights of the disc. Lane has never sounded better and all the musicians produce a killer backdrop for her to show off her vocal skills.
Sunshine of Your Love
Turning back to Cream for source material, this one works better than “White Room.” In fact, they may just have outdone Clapton, Bruce and Baker with their take.
Wooden Ships
Here we get another classic 1960’s tune. This rendition is just plain awesome. The backing vocals, Lane’s performance and vintage sounding keyboards all serve to make this one extremely memorable.
Nights In White Satin
Once again looking to the Moody Blues, one of their best known tracks ends this disc. Always a great piece of music, Lane, Norlander and the rest put in a killer rendition of a timeless piece of music. It’s a great way to end the disc.
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