LOTTA LENE is a professional singer from Finland which works as session musician but also fronts his own band mixing self-written material with covers of rock&pop classics from different decades. Now Lotta has recorded her debut solo album entitled "Smoke & Mirrors", a wonderful slice of Melodic Rock / AOR tunes with an unmistakable '80s sound.
"Smoke & Mirrors" features songs composed by Lotta Lené (real name Lotta Nieminen) with her guitarist Jake Mäkelä, who also is the arranger, producer and play all the instruments on the album.
This 10-track CD is a pure joy for all fans of female fronted '80s Melodic Rock / AOR in the vein of Robin Beck, Sandi Saraya, Bonnie Tyler, Heart's Ann Wilson, Issa, etc.
Lotta owns the kind of strong toned vocals that made female Rock singers popular thirty years ago.
All songs are build over the classic mould for the genre with a Scandinavian feel, some with strong guitars as on the soaring opener "What I Want" which somehow reminds me of Vixen. Lotta rocks here and Mäkelä's guitar work is impressive, with clever keyboard arrangements as well.
"Seven Days" is prime AOR of the highest order, pumping, vital. Melodic vocals, sharp six-string riffs and a keyboard heaven on this one, with awesomely arranged layers of harmony vocals (all performed by Lotta). This track alone worth the disc!
"Stay" is much more melodic rock oriented with a '89 Robin Beck style, however Lotta vocals here bring to my mind another excellent female singer: Canadian songstress Luba.
Then "Skin" delivers another soaring performance and an uptempo melodic rock structure. Again, Mäkelä shines on the guitar with stupendous riffs. His staccato progression before the solo is excellent. Seriously, this guy is top notch!
"Promises" returns to soaring AOR with more and more layers of harmonies, followed by the more groovy "I Don't Mind", and then the smooth midtempo "Riding Shotgun" with some Heart on it.
"Here And Now" starts slowly with some acoustics, but raises into a meaty rocker with varied, different vocal inflections by Lotta showcasing her versatility.
"Close Your Eyes (Save The Night)" returns to the pumping melodic rock territory filled with punchy guitars and lots of keys, and the lead vocals are delivered an octave lower than the regular from Lotta. Very nice.
"Rain" is truly Scandinavian in essence, perhaps the more modern cut from the lot but the keyboards are all over, and Mäkelä's rhythm guitars are to die for.
What can I say... "Smoke & Mirrors" is great.
Lotta Lené is an awesome singer, rich in textures, powerful and super-melodic. And she have the incredibly talented Jake Mäkelä providing the music, a killer guitarist, tasteful keyboardist (there's lots of classic synths all over here), and a clever arranger.
It must to be said that Mäkelä also perform the groovy bass lines and has programmed the drums too, but forget the typical plastic cheap sound, not at all, these feel like real drums. Another proof of Mäkelä's talent.
Fans of pure '80s female fronted Melodic Rock AOR with a Scandi sound need to check Lotta Lené's "Smoke & Mirrors" NOW.
Released by herself, still is not available worldwide. There's a digital version at selected countries (featuring only 8 tracks), and on this physical 10-track CD only in Finland.
You've seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01 - What I Want
02 - Seven Days
03 - Stay
04 - Skin
05 - Promises
06 - I Don't Mind
07 - Riding Shotgun
08 - Here And Now
09 - Close Your Eyes (Save The Night)
10 - Rain
Lotta Lene: lead and backing vocals
Jake Mäkelä: guitars, bass, keyboards, programming
BUY IT !