Friday, May 13, 2011

JOHN LAWRY - Media Alert '90 + Excursions '97

JOHN LAWRY - Media Alert '90 + Excursions '97
John Lawry, musician, composer, producer and songwriter is most remembered for being the keyboardist of christian rock band Petra during their most prolific years.
In 1990 Lawry released his first solo album, produced and performed by himself.
"Media Alert" isn't a concept disc, but the general theme is about the danger signals being incessantly spewed out from T.V., radio, telephone. But don't take it so seriously, this is a commercial and easy listening recording.

Title track "Media Alert" is a thumping and urgent keyboard driven track sounding a lot like YES '90125' era. If keyboards are your thing, this is for you: DX7 synths, Moog, Fairlight, Korg organs, all are present here. The solo is a blast.
"Video Logic" has massive vocal arrangements and synthetic sound, again as '80s YES but this time like 'Big Generator', with xeric programmed drums. I don't know if you like this kind of bombastic stuff, personally, love it.
The classy mid-eighties FM radio tune "The Whole World Is Crying Tonight" recalls the best Foreigner in its conception, but less commercial. This is seriously a very good AOR song, and Lawry's vocals are melodic and hard-boiled at the same time.

The 3 first songs are very good in my opinion, but "Stars In The Night" is the highlight on this album. This track has a marching rhythm in the vein of TNT circa 'Intuition' with a scorching arsenal of swirling keyboards throughout. Awesome.
"Time Will Tell" is a fine, calm tune with good harmonies, very 'canadian' ala Bryan Hughes Group. Follower "Radio - Ology" is pretty Hi-Tech, a bit weak in its punch.
I don't like the street-tech of "Decalogue", this track is out of place in this album in my humble opinion.
Things return to normality with the good, minimal ballad "Can't Beak A Broken Heart" (very nice vocals), the poppy cool british-esque "Ice Walls", and the sentimental closer "Something Wonderful".

"Media Alert" is a very good album criminally ignored by the majority of the AOR community. A shame, because contains some exquisite melodies and a compact, impeccable production. Maybe you won't like the programmed drums on many tracks or the super-abundance of keys, to me, in this style of material, it's a plus.

01 - Media Alert
02 - Video Logic
03 - The Whole World Is Crying Tonight
04 - Stars In The Night
05 - Time Will Tell
06 - Radio - Ology
07 - Decalogue
08 - Can't Beak A Broken Heart
09 - Ice Walls
10 - Something Wonderful

John Lawry: All Instruments, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Paul Brannon: Guitars
Stefanie Lawry (John's wife): Vocals On Track 7
John Schlitt: Backing Vocals
Tina Keil: Backing Vocals
Dan Keen: Backing Vocals
Bill Strickler: Backing Vocals

JOHN LAWRY - Media Alert

JOHN LAWRY - Media Alert '90 + Excursions '97
As a special addition, I included into the file the unknown, extremely hard to find Lawry's 2nd album "Excursions", dubbed 'The World's First Audio Phone Card'.
What? Because it came with a pin and pre-paid phonecard including free minutes besides the songs on the CD. ¿?
Apart from this curiosity, this rarity is a must for any synth, piano, keyboard lover.
The 5 tracks are instrumental, featuring colorful landscapes, including occasional guitars and different percussion.

Only 1,000 hand-numbered copies pressed. Very, very rare.

01 - Excursions
02 - Water Of Life
03 - Messiah
04 - Busy Signal (Atlanta Special)
05 - Excursions (Reprise)

John Lawry: All Instruments

JOHN LAWRY Excursions '97