Fortune - II

Fortune II cover
Frontiers Music Srl
Fortune… a band that’s been a going concern since before I was born in the tail end of the seventies and a band that with its “definite” lineup would be responsible for one of the best, if not the best AOR/Melodic Rock albums of all time with their eponymous 1985 effort.
Now, knowing how good that album is, it’s almost impossible to top it, but I half expected the band to come close to how good they were. Obviously more than 30 years have passed since then but time, what is time?! Really…
Fortune manages to re-capture their 80s style and sound, quite convincingly, albeit with the advent of modern technology, their production sounds a lot fuller, especially the rhythm section and thus L.A. Greene’s voice sounds a little more “distant” and spread over the mix than what I was used to. I suppose I liked things as they were, but I might learn to appreciate how things are now more.
“Don’t Say You Love Me” is also the opening song from the LE 2017 EP and it’s a by the numbers, but very confident opener that plays on all the strengths of the band and delivers a remarkable chorus, with perhaps a little less enthusiasm and pathos, than what would make it a genre classic forever.
I dunno why the band opts to ape the opening of “Smoke from a Gun” for almost to a T, but after that, “Shelter of the Night” comes into its own and it manages to really warm itself to me. It almost reaches the dizzying heights of the debut, but doesn’t quite hit the summit, just by a little.
The band seems to break the mold a bit for “Freedom Road” sounding less forced to sound like what they did 34 years ago and goes for a more contemporary take on the old and tested formula. This allows especially Greene to sound a little more spontaneous, but maybe not as impressive as he did in the past. It’s a good trade off thought.
“A Little Drop of Poison (For Amy W.)” is quite the stirring, deeply lyrical and moving ballad that’s laced in melancholy, if not pure sorrow, over the loss of Amy Winehouse (?) from what one can infer from the lyrics… a nice tribute.
“What A Fool I’ve Been” was on the private and very limited EP (less than 100 copies) that the band released while touring the UK a couple of years ago and it’s one of the songs that features writing contributions from keyboardist R.S.Craig, who was a basic proponent of the eponymous album of 85. It’s decidedly more up-tempo and has a slight rock n roll undercurrent.
Another one of the EP songs is “Overload”, a somewhat pop-pier affair, in which the heavier production seems to drag things down. A little bit more enthusiasm and vocal “harmonies”, that seem suspiciously lacking, would have elevated it, quite certainly.
“Heart of Stone” is a superb song that has been around since the 80s, with the “Gypsy Rock” 2004 re-release of the 1985 album, including it along with a couple of more tunes as a bonus in, if I remember correctly a live rendition. Here, in the studio it sounds more delicate, but nonetheless great. Easily a cut above the rest!
“The Night” seems to have rubbed itself in the pathos that seems absent from quite a few of the songs on the album. It might be a little simpler and more immediate, with a chorus that’s not entirely “thought over and over” and might be a little lazy on the writing side, but works just miracles.
“New Orleans”, the last of the 4 songs that were featured on the pre-release EP, might start timidly with some acoustic guitar, but soon gets moody and rocking in a deeply soulful way. Excellent! Needless to say what it addresses and it does so, in a really classy way.
“All The Right Moves” sounds too sure of itself, but I kinda like the self-confidence it oozes that is very reminiscent of the band back in the day.
Japanese fans are treated to an additional song and it’s a live rendition of the excellent “Living in a Dream World” that’s so good… it is worth the extra bob you might have to spend to get “the Japanese version”. Damn!
While it is inconsistent and not the perfect 10 that the 1985 album is, “II” doesn’t suck by any stretch of the imagination. It would have been perfect, with a bit more spontaneity, especially when it comes to the vocal department, but it is nonetheless classy. A classy return for these soft pompous rockers that have been doing this for more than this generation of listeners has been alive.