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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Lana Lane

Covers Collection

Review by Gary Hill

Lana Lane has one of the best voices in prog rock, and her band seems to do a better job of combining prog and harder textures in a palatable and accessible melange of sound. Here the group turns their attention to nothing but covers, and it is a mixed bag. Some of the material here rivals if not surpasses the original performances, while some other fall a bit short. Still, the album is definitely quite listenable and interesting.

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Track by Track Review
The Wall
This cover is of a brilliant, but not overly well-known Kansas cut. The cut begins with major prog energy, fury and passion. As it drops to the verse it takes on an exceptional powerful and emotional balladic style that begins building. This gives way to a break that is dominated by piano first, then a tasty guitar. The cut continues forth in fine fashion from there, picking up where it left off. This cut is an oft-overlooked Kansas number and Lane's version rivals the original. This is awesome!
Here Lane tackles what is probably this reviewer's favorite Led Zeppelin song. While the band does a nice rendition, perhaps I like the original too much because Lane's vocal performance seems a little lacking at times - not in terms of tone or quality, but rather in power and passion. Part of the problem is that she enunciates too clearly. It seems that part of the magic of Plant's performance was the slightly unintelligible lyrics. The synth on the arrangement does seem to add a new dimension, though.
Anyone remember the band Aviary? I can count myself among the number who does, however, I can't for the life of me remember what they sound like. If you are with me on that, Lane has left us a clue with her cover of this song of theirs. This one starts with a potent flourish. Then a balladic segment brings in a pretty style, and the cut begins building on that. This is one full and integrated composition, all parts working together in unison to tell their haunting and sad tale.
Hold Your Head Up
This Argent number has always been a considerably positive proto-prog number. The group put in a cool performance on this rocker, both preserving the rather dated texture and updating it. That's quite a feat. Lane's vocals sound great on this one. I have to admit I prefer the bass sound on the original, though. The keyboard solo is quite good, although intentionally a little short. There is a second one on the fadeout, though.
When one thinks of sources for cover material for a prog band, Enuff Z'Nuff would not be one of the first names to come to mind. Still, this balladic cut comes across as evocative and potent here. The latter parts of the piece are effectively hard edged and energized.
I'll See You In My Dreams
Originally recorded by Giant, this is an emotional piece, but just not standout material. It does get rather powerful, but is simply too restricted by an '80's metal ballad structure for this reviewer's tastes.
Don't Try So Hard
A Queen song, this cut is quite strong and inspirational. The group pulls together a potent take on it, making it their own while still reflecting its origins. This has strong classical elements and gets quite powerful.
Northern Lights
Well, if Enuff Z'Nuff was an unlikely choice for a prog cover, TNT is completely out of the question. As presented here, the cut is a pretty and haunting ballad with classical overtones. It gets hard rocking in an arena ballad way.
Still Loving You
The Scorpions are definitely another unlikely source, but this cut has always had an intricate texture. Lane and the musicians create a rendition that emphasizes that element and even bring in a bit of a neo-classical texture. They do intensify it at times toward the hard edge, but still elevate the cut beyond its origins. The keys add a lot to this one, too, and it is a strong piece.
Weep In Silence
This Uriah Heep cover begins with a classically oriented piano solo. As the song proper enters it is dramatic and rather bluesy. The tune takes on strong and evocative textures focusing on the rocking side at times, the more thoughtful at others. The two veins come together in places. This is a powerful performance and strong composition.
The final cut on the album is a solid rocker from the Dio era of Rainbow. Lane's voice adds a new dimension to this powerful and well-written hard rocking piece. It is a great way to end the album.
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