Album review: AMANDA LEHMANN – Innocence And Illusion

AMANDA LEHMANN - Innocence And Illusion [Release date 20.08.21]

It must be nice to have such close supporters as Steve Hackett and, via his connections, Nick Magnus, Rob Townsend and Roger King.  All heavyweights who will assure the sonic qualities of any enterprise.  But it remains whether Amanda Lehmann (Hackett’s sister in law) can break out of their collective shadows.

Best known for providing sterling harmony guitar and vocal support to Hackett in his own band, his own fans will welcome the release and – sigh of relief – it can be enjoyed in its own right and without any pre-conceived shackles.

As you’d expect it’s a beautifully crafted and produced work.  It gives Lehmann a real  chance to shine.  And. yes, at times it evokes Hackett with the rich orchestrations and vocal harmonies.

The opener ‘Who Are The Heroes’ is a good enough summation, with Lehmann’s vocals that get more appealing as time goes on and functional guitar that never grates.  The album promise is continued with ‘Tinkerbell’ and its classical grandeur while ‘Only When It Rains’ changes the vibe completely with brother-in-law contributing acoustic guitar and harmonica to what is essentially a slice of swing.

Normal service is resumed with the darker ‘The Watcher’, an album highlight which has a well-worn blues riff at its core but is elevated by Amanda’s vocal performance.

‘Memory Lane’, ‘Forever Days’ (which has elements of both Hackett and Marillion), and ‘We Are One’ maintain the consistency.  The latter even steals a little bit of Pink Floyd’s ‘High Hopes’.

Lehmann is not afraid to explore different moods on this debut solo album and, with or without her illustrious cohorts, I am sure she would have produced something of note. Solid songwriting, solid playing.  Out of the shadows.  ****

Review by David Randall

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