Intelligent Music 2012
Moving in telekinetic, rather than telepathic way, the “Sympathy” and “Wise Man” singer puts positive thinking to operatic use.
For a few years, not much has been heard from John Lawton, formerly a voice of LUCIFER’S FRIEND and URIAH HEEP, and the absence of such a voice makes the world quite a silent place. As it turned out, the veteran became a travel programme presenter on Bulgarian TV, where he met Milen Vrabevski, who penned a kind of rock opera for the local legends DIANA EXPRESS and offered the Englishman to cut a version in his native tongue. New lyrics entailed new instrumentation, including Pleven Philharmonic, and now “The Power Of Mind” sounds like it was originally tailored for John.
More so, for all the ’70s MOR air of cuts like “Fairytale”, sometimes Lawton’s vocals attain new colors here, the richest in the chain of chamber, led by Vrabevski’s piano and string-swept, ballads “Two Hearts” and “Mind Power”, yet amidst the ABBA-esque moments dwells that familiar glide from gentle to gorgeous, harmonic counterpoints adding to the emotional surge. It subsides as the album progresses, though, as too much rock ‘n’ rolling levels the groove’s initial appeal, set in the glitzy “Max Rock”, despite the powerful delivery of both singer and the band whose guitarist Maxim Goranov shines bright in acoustic mode. Balancing the pace doesn’t improve the flow, especially when it comes to “Rock ‘N’ Roll Is My Thing”, a banal sequel to Lawton’s “Still Payin’ My Dues To The Blues”, while “Now I Know” picks up where HEEP’s “Do You Know” left off to sway with panache, and recurring themes give it all a joyful coherence to peak with “New Rhythm”. Not original, perhaps, but solidly pleasant work.