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Articles Home » 2015 Articles » Lene, Lotta - 2015 Smoke And Mirrors
Lene, Lotta - 2015 Smoke And Mirrors

ARTIST: Lene, Lotta
ALBUM: Smoke And Mirrors
LABEL: Self Released
YEAR: 2015


LINEUP: Lotta Lene - vocals * Jake Makela - guitars, bass, keyboards, programming

TRACK LISTING: 01 What I Want * 02 Seven Days * 03 Stay * 04 Skin * 05 Promises * 06 I Don't Mind * 07 Riding Shotgun * 08 Here And Now



To be perfectly honest, I have never really given much time to the recent rash of female fronted AOR bands. You know, the likes of Nubian Rose, Issa and The Val, I really don't get that excited and resist the need for further investigation. I am not totally an Alf Garnet character as I do appreciate most classic AOR bands, like Saraya, Vixen, Witness, and I would class Anneke Van Giersbergen in my top five vocalists of all time. So it's quite a surprise that I actually like this album by Lotta Lene, let alone that I brought it in the first place. Skipping through an issue of AOR Underground (is this trying to be wimpwire in disguise?) from Powerplay I noticed the album cover, and while skipping again (keeps you fit, all this skipping) on eBay, brought this album as a buy it now for just a fiver, well I thought the second hand value in years to come could be good, especially as the CD issue is limited to Lotta's native Finland. The geographical location is all I really know about Lotta. It seems that she spends time performing various covers and this could well be hear first release.

The Songs
The opening 'What I Want' is a clear reflective of pumping riffs of say the likes of Prisoner and early Radioactive era, those old Z Records days. It is obvious that a lot of time and effort has gone into the timing of the lyrics, overlaying crisp musical interplay, and the players are not just here to support the vocalist, they play a crucial role and embellish the whole project. 'Seven Days' is great AOR, this has the feel that it should had appeared on Mark Free's, 'Long Way From Love', it has that influence. To me one of the stand out tracks, playing off the same bat as FM and Giant. The formulae continue with 'Stay', helicopter guitar riff is the size of a Chinook not a micro light, with a genuine classic chorus. Vocals, Lotta impresses, she puts in an admirable performance and comes across as a youthful Cher (that's going back a bit!), but take that with a pinch of salt, because I am not the best qualified in the world of female singers. What I like about her, is she never overplays it, never uncomfortable, never strays into dodgy shrieks or screams; in fact she cuts quite a moody figure, nothing wrong in that. With 'Skin' just listen to the final minutes of 'Skin' the finishing speed, like a huge AOR dessert, a very fruity trifle, layer upon layer of aor loveliness. 'Skin' is the one song that adds the most value; together with 'Seven Days' just culminates in magnificent AOR.

There are the two strong entities to this album, the vocals of Lotta and the musicians, not merely playing second fiddle; no I'm sure it's the guitars, drums, bass, keyboards etc. The practically nonexistence of ballads helps, so it never becomes to sugary, ranging from a stiff set of AOR rules that are adhered to, but it never sounds rigid and soulless, the racy keyboards, the 80's guitars which you will discover on 'Promises' is a great example. Like a soundtrack to Tom Cruise movies with lots of high speed race cars. Tracks 'I Don't Mind' and 'Riding Shotgun' have more in common with Badlands and Tangier, and subsequently light of AOR; it's again the structure of the songs that engage the listener. While 'Riding Shotgun' has much of the AOR clothing stripped away to find a move into more melodic rock with a suitable dusting of sand and is still the one of the pairing that outshines, as I find 'I Don't Mind' being the only circuit breaker to be found on the album. 'Here and Now', shows there is still enough juice for the album to wag its tail, a lot stronger than the tail of the Australia/England (delete one accordingly) cricket team.

In Summary
This could well be the best female fronted AOR album since Debbie Davis on Witness from 1988 (brought from Parrott Records in Cambridge, if I remember rightly). The musicianship here at times is simply breath-taking, even to my old deaf ears, it sounds like a million dollars and very fresh. On the whole this a selection of excellent AOR and while a couple stray from that in terms of description, it only adds different flavours so enhancing the recording and keeps it interesting. Generally it harks back to the classic days of 82-83, but with modern recording, but still have those specific qualities of being a limited run, small label, and if it was produced on vinyl, you can only imagine the cover being prone to ring wear due to the colour, but still protected by the shrink wrap, unopened of course. Do you still remember the difficulty involved in cutting the polythene?

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#1 | gdazegod on July 21 2015 04:36:49
Lotta Lene - 2015 What I Want
#2 | gdazegod on July 21 2015 04:37:26
Lotta Lene - 2015 Stay
#3 | millwall_alex on July 26 2015 22:09:39
Alright chris!
Don't really know how to send messages yet, but never mind..
There's a guy on YouTube called 'Daemonja81' who posts some obscure glam metal bands.. Thought you might want to have a look!
#4 | englandashes on July 27 2015 21:40:46
Hi Alex, good to see you registered, just sent u PM, thanks for the link, will have a look, chris
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