Three Lions - Three Lions

Three Lions cover
Three Lions
Three Lions
Frontiers Records
Three Lions are a new and exciting hard rock trio from Britain, consisting of some really seasoned players like Vinny Burns (Dare, Ten, Asia) on guitar, Greg Morgan (Dare, Ten) on drums and introducing Nigel Bailey on vocals and bass guitar. Their eponymous debut just came out this month and really swept me off my feet. Obviously, I remember a bunch of cool ass stuff that Vinny had up on his Myspace, (when that “site” was still relevant, some years ago, but those ideas apparently weren’t utilized. Well not until now?!
In Three Lions, not only does, Vinny find a way to channel most of his ideas, that have been fermenting in the past few years, to pretty much perfection, but also we get a dynamic “trio” that has all the pros of such a small unit of musicians, ie, tightness, and a direct approach, as well as clarity of sound, but pretty much none of the cons as Vin is no slouch, when it comes to the six strings… The ever-present Alessandro Del Vecchio, a well-known keyboard player/producer/songwriter/frequent collaborator for Frontiers has collaborated with the band on 2 songs and I would suspect, must have added a few key flourishes, here and there (although there don’t seem to be too many – just some intros etc...)
Apparently the whole idea of forming the band was brought forth when the band members were introduced by Serafino (Frontiers’ president) and Alessandro at Firefest 2012. Typical “Frontiers” breeding, tactic… where they seem to try and mix and match artists within their roster to produce even more bands and projects, with varying results, but this match is sorta made in heaven…
What’s evident from the very first song, is that the album was written without an agenda and it consists of really strong songs... with infectious choruses. This isn’t one of those albums with 3 goods songs, that deflates after 10 minutes. Which is really great! But that was to be expected, with all the music that Vinny had accumulated over all the years of his “inactivity” anything less, would have been a real shame. Moran, is steady and good as ever, accenting the songs, finely and Nigel Bailey, has this sort of voice that has the quality, charm and sweetness of a younger John Wetton, but a lot more gravel in it… really impressive. But he can twist and bend his voice and shape it in a lot of ways as I found out by listening to this album...
“Trouble in a Red Dress” the albums lead single and video clip, erupts with a flurry of notes, and a great sense of urgency before a really great hook and it's amazing chorus come into effect. I’m already positively gasping for air, wondering who’s the lady that inspired this little number!
“Hold Me Down” starts off with a more rockin’ riff and has a more carefree sort of 80s Y&T, vibe... and some amazing vocals, again as soon as the chorus hits, it’s jackpot baby!
“Twisted Soul” decidedly drops the pace as it tries to create an atmosphere, and Vinny does his best with an evocative melody he conceives in the very beginning. Bailey does some really impressive singing, evoking the best elements of Coverdale and Hughes all the while Vinny comes back with a mean riff, only to have Bailey answer in his best Coverdelian manner... the song pretty much continues in a similar fashion with an impressive solo courtesy of the “Burning” one! Impressive and inspired!
“Winter Sun” sees Bailey going “Darren Wharton” in a number that could have been easily inspired by the slightly Celtic influenced “latter day” Dare material. It still has some nice guitars, going on, but it mainly centers the attention on the vocal melody and the whole atmosphere and well, more power to Vinny for not wanting to show off. He plays for the song, just reprising the “main theme” at the exit, just “bleeding” on the fretboard… awesome...
“Just a Man (Not Divine)” is a song, which sort of begins in a way that’s compatible with the previous one being a ballad; it’s a soft rocker, with a persistent but not too loud riff, and a rousing but not chest “waxingly” macho chorus… haha. Vinny’s harmonized lead is also pretty rad!
“Holly Water” is a number that takes a slight step back and it’s maybe not as immediate as some of the previous ones, but it still manages to have a pretty endearing chorus and an amazing solo (as every song has...)
“Two Hearts Beat as One” is a ballad and it’s a little by the numbers, pretty spartan mostly carried by Nigel Bailey’s really good performance, rather than its actual chorus. The solo that comes midway is probably the song’s absolute highlight. And when your solo is better than the chorus… well something’s a little amiss... this one could have gone back to the drawing board for a “chorus – redevelopment” me-thinks.
“Kathmandu” comes up next shrouded in mystery, with a threatening eastern riff, really creeping and quite changing the flow of the album. It’s definitely “different”, more epic, probably one of the more keyboard heavy songs on the album and certainly it makes it mark.
“Made For One Another” is a much better ballad, than “Two Hearts...” heartfelt, with another impressive vocal performance by Nigel Bailey and Vinny just “painting picture” of “sunsets” all over with his guitar... amazing!
“Magdalene” begins with a keyboard flurry before the guitars take over and sounds like prime time post-Dio Rainbow or something of that sort really commercial great hard rock, with both Bailey adapting to a more JLTish, cocksure vocal performance and pulling it off rather well and obviously Vinny having no problem to chameleon himself into a more commercial version of “himself” as influenced by the countless masters before him... Oh and “Magdalene” your “chorus”... oooh baby... it’s so good, it’s criminal!
“Don’t Let Me Fall” is another ballad, that this time explores a more “American” sound not a million miles away from the Journeys of this world, but since these guys are British, it sort of comes across as a bit of a bastard… it’s not bad actually, all things considered and when Vinny fires up another impossibly impressive and original lead, you can’t feel anything other than either jealous – if you’re a musician, or elation if you’re a listener!
“Hellfire Highway” raises the pace, just a bit before the end, managing to keep the pace of the album from swamping. It's a nice little rocker, with renewed urgency, both on the riff and the vocals that have a distinct “Graham Bonnet” sort of quality about them... and well, the mighty V, just mockingly makes a lead out of the riff, by expanding on that idea, making you damn the minute you tried to learn guitar. The man is to me the guy that embodies the qualities of the late Gary Moore. He can make the “six string mistress” moan, and he can make it squeal too…
And talking about moaning… “Sicilian Kiss” is a tremendous “guitar orgy” an instrumental that if you haven’t decided to stop playing guitar, or at least double your hours of practice, will definitely make you want to do so, right after hearing it. It’s emotive, conveys the intended “Sicilian” atmosphere, perfectly, by the guitar tone alone and is so amazing that will simply leave you speechless.
Well, having said all that, I can only say this. Don’t miss this album if you like hard rock, as it’s un-missable! Stellar performances, amazing songwriting, no fillers and 3 British Lions that Rock an’ Roar!