February 21, 2022

We now come to album number five by the cultured and classy melodic rock outfit Lionville; a band that seems to have trademarked the Americana sound so perfectly summed up by AOR and melodic rock bands from the United States. However, they are actually from Italy but you would never, ever guess it by listening to their perfectly crafted and radio friendly rock and roll.

It was in Genova in 2010 that the band began life having been formed by Stefano Lionetti and he had a major success when he secured the services of the golden voiced Lars Säfsund (Work Of Art) which helped them hit the ground running with the very assured self-titled debut in 2011. Each album has seen the band perfect the sumptuous and rich sound that we have come to expect from Lionville and having a stable line-up for several albums has most certainly helped with the continuity and development of the group. Their sound is very much influenced by the US AOR scene (Toto, Boston, Survivor, Bad English) and the clever use of vocal harmonies gives a most cultured West Coast sound to the proceedings. So Close To Heaven is glossy and super slick AOR but one with definite pop sensibilities too with all of the material having a radio friendliness and, no doubt, this album if released in the 1980s would have contained several hit singles! Times may have changed but class never does and if you are looking for a sublime and easy listening album then this most certainly fits the bill.

The line–up has remained constant for the last couple of releases and I’m pleased to say that the same team is back for So Close To Heaven with Stefano Lionetti (guitars, vocals, keyboards), Lars Säfsund (lead vocals), Michele Cusato (guitar), Giulio Dagnino (bass), Fabrizio Caria and Martino Malacrida (drums) all settling into their well accustomed roles. As previously, the album is ballad heavy as which Lars Säfsund as his smooth and mellifluous voice was surely designed for slow burning ballads but he is equally adept at the power game too and is a real stand out asset for the band. The twin guitars sound so sumptuous when working in harmony with Lionetti and Cusato having a real rapport and each offers great support to the other and when they open up then the effect is exquisite.

Perfect songs with superb vocal harmonies and a wonderful production job makes this latest album a real gem and shows that when it comes to slick melodic rock then Lionville is very much at the forefront of the genre.

So Close To Heaven

  1. This Time (4:26)
  2. Cross My Heart (4:49)
  3. The World Is On Fire (4:14)
  4. Can’t Live Without Your Love (4:30)
  5. True Believer (5:02)
  6. We Are One (3:31)
  7. Only The Brave (4:32)
  8. Angel Without Wings (4:56)
  9. I’ll Be Waiting Tonight (4:28)
  10. Arrow Through My Heart (4:42)
  11. So Close To Heaven (5:54)