Lane, Lana - Neptune Blue,
Back in 1998 I suffered a serious motorbike accident, and in all honesty should have been killed. During the time I was recuperating at home I received a parcel from Erik Norlander and my memories of that period are always interlinked with the live Rocket Scientists video (where Lana guested) which was constantly on my TV while I was attempting to work, and Lana’s album ‘Live In Japan’ which was basically her and Rocket Scientists as her backing band. Since then, I have followed her career with interest, and when I saw she was releasing her first album in ten years I was incredibly excited to hear it. Even before I put in on the player I was intrigued as the artwork takes us all the way back to her second album, 1996’s ‘Curious Goods’. When looking at those involved, it was obvious this was deliberate as it while her husband Erik (keyboards) will always be involved with her work, there is also Mark McCrite (guitar, bass, backing vocals) and Don Schiff (N/S Stick) who were there with her more than 25 years ago. They have now been joined by drummer Greg Ellis, guitarist Jeff Kollman while John Payne (Asia) helps on backing vocals (not really a surprise given that he and Erik are in Dukes of the Orient together).
I have always felt that Lana is one of the strongest singers in the prog scene, and here she is provided with material which really lets her express herself with long-held notes, and music behind her which is sometimes, simple, at other times complex, but always middle of the road AOR influenced prog. The best song is opener “Remember Me”, where Erik kicks it off with some traditional organ before it turns into a belter. By the time we got to the chorus I was in heaven as there are strong hints here of “Operation Roswell” which will probably always be my favourite of hers. The album does calm it down somewhat after that which is a real shame, as if they had all belted like this then we would have an absolute classic on our hands. As it is, this is still an incredibly powerful release, showing that although she has been away for ten years, she has never lost her drive. With three Rocket Scientists by her side, she yet again shows why she has such a great reputation. For anyone who has not heard any of her other material this is a great starting point, and one I have really enjoyed playing. Let’s hope that it is not ten years until the next one!