Nothing should surprise or shock us nowadays. If someone would have told me, a couple of years ago, that Lionheart would reunite and release a brand new album 33 years after “Hot Tonight”, I’d say that this is probably a good script out of a great science fiction book. You see, the debut album –the aforementioned “Hot Tonight”- was criminally overlooked back in the day and various circumstances ruled out any possibility of a reunion as Dennis Stratton & Rocky Newton/Steve Mann joined Praying Mantis and MSG respectively. But in 2016 an invitation from Rockingham Festival and later on from the prestigious Sweden Rock marked the return of Lionheart…thus “Second Nature” became the band’s comeback record!
For starters, let’s just say that with the exception of singer Chad Brown, what we have here is the band’s classic line-up (Stratton, Mann, Newton, Edwards) with the addition of the brilliant Lee Small who handles the vocals. “Second Nature” is an exceptional album and it might sound cliché or detrimental but the truth is that it seems like the natural progression of “Hot Tonight”. Quite literally, it seems like the clock has stopped in the mid-80s and Lionheart carries on from where they stopped with its debut offering. This is an album full of AOR anthems that were so characteristic of British bands like Tobruk, Airrace and Heavy Pettin’ (just to name a few) while the overall production is carefully crafted like it is…1985! And trust us…that’s a very good thing.
I will not go into special references (although “Give Me The Light” and “Angels With Dirty Faces” are monumental tracks) and I must underline that the unique feeling that you get upon listening to “Second Nature” is a constant desire to repeat this extraordinary listening experience! Last but certainly not least, it would be a mishap if I didn’t mention the superb rendition of the classic “Don’t Pay The Ferryman”…come to think about it, I made special references, after all. Welcome back, guys…we missed you!
Highlight: What did Rocky Newton do parallel to his engagement with MSG..? Clue: backing vocals for a band that it is the very definition of the “backing vocals department”.