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Phil Lanzon: If You Think I'm Crazy
Phil Lanzon - If You Think I'm Crazy CD Album Review

Phil Lanzon - If You Think I'm Crazy

Symphonic/Melodic/Progressive Rock

I wonder how long this has been brewing in his musical mind. Since 1986 Phil Lanzon has been the keyboard player for Uriah Heep, contributing his songwriting skills to seven studio albums. But he's never done a solo album, until now. Self-released last Fall and now getting a more international push through Cargo Records, If You Think I'm Crazy features a cast of stellar prog musicians. These include arranger and keyboard player Richard Cottle (Charlie, Alan Parsons Project), drummer Craig Blundell (Steven Wilson, Frost, Pendragon), bassist Laurence Cottle (Van Morrison, Alan Parsons Project, Black Sabbath), and vocalist and guitarist John Mitchell (Arena, Frost, Kino, It Bites) to name a few.

Phil Lanzon Photo

Phil Lanzon

In the last 30 some years, one of the most important contributions that Lanzon has made to Uriah Heep was to push the band towards more progressive melodic rock. With If You Think I'm Crazy, that musical motif becomes even more expansive thanks to the lush symphonic orchestration which wraps around each song. But at the core, Lanzon prizes melodic rock as the thread that binds an arrangement together. Melody, harmony, groove, and simply sweet and catchy refrains are at a premium, even while the compositions can be lightly complex.

Vocal arrangements also take a priority for Lanzon, being equally lush, almost sounding choral at times. Of course, when you have on hand John Mitchell (I Knew I Was Dreaming, Mind Over Matter), you're guaranteed fine melodic vocals. But there's also fine work from Andy Makin (Lover's Highway, Kelly Gang, Donna & Joe, The Bells), Andy Caine (Carolin), and Lanzon is no slouch either on I Saw Two Englands and Forest.

Then there's the simple beauty of the musical contributions from the individual players. His name may be on the cover, but Lanzon's keyboards aren't nearly the centerpiece you would expect. Certainly his piano lines are heard, often driving a song's melody, and his faithful Hammond B3 sounds wonderful. But guitar solos soar in many songs, and the rhythm section delivers a mighty beat and infectious toe-tapping groove.

Hitting a few song highlights, Mind Over Matter and Kelly Gang sweep you up in their grand orchestration and deep vocal arrangements, featuring also some fine guitar solos. I Saw To Englands, with Lanzon on vocals, is a lighter number with acoustic guitar, and some lingering pedal steel guitar. Step Overture is a Lanzon instrumental featuring his Hammond B3. The Bells is probably the heaviest song here with strong riffage embellished by the orchestration. Perhaps the most simple song is the chick song Carolin, which is pure AOR melodic rock and turns on a beautiful melody and catchy chorus.

All in all, If You Think I'm Crazy is a grand and pleasing album of symphonic and melodic progressive rock, and a significant achievement for Phil Lanzon. Get it. Quite recommended. - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

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The Bottom Line

All in all, If You Think I'm Crazy is a grand and pleasing album of symphonic and melodic progressive rock, and a significant achievement for Phil Lanzon. Get it. Quite recommended.

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