Album review: FORTUNE- Level Ground

FORTUNE- Level Ground

Frontiers Records (Release Date 08.04.22)

After it took 24 years to follow up their self-titled debut album and cult AOR classic, Fortune’s third album follows after a relatively brief three year interval. However while 2019’s ‘Fortune II’ included a number of songs left over from the olden days, ‘Level Ground’ is an entirely new set of compositions.

A piano intro provides a suitably dramatic opening to ‘Silence Of The Heart’, which is an unusual song,  beginning with the chorus but whose keyboards give it a pomp feel.

‘Judgement Day’ is classic Fortune with a good blend of guitars and keys and a familiar keyboard intro that calls to mind their classic ‘Lonely Hunter’ yet there are some changes of approach  with both ‘Dangerous Things’ and ‘Riot In The Heartland’  a little heavier than we are used to.

In between ‘I Will Hold You Up’  has an A-list guester in Steve Porcaro and his keys make a recognisable contribution to a great arrangement though Larry Greene’s vocals come over a little bland.

‘Orphaned in the Storm’ is one of the highlights with a particularly fine solo from Richard Fortune and though the chorus of  ‘I Should Have Known You’d Be Trouble’ is merely average, the ballad ‘Hand In Hand’ shows  Larry’s smoky silver-tongued voice at its finest.

The title track is also one of the rockier ones with waves of guitar solos leading to a sharp ending, before one of my favourite numbers closes the album, the five and a half minute ‘Lunacy of Love’, mid-pocket and superbly sung as a lush arrangement ends with a ‘la-la-la’ outro.

The production mix is disappointingly muddy in places and stops the album from fulfilling its potential.  It’s not quite at the same level as its two predecessors for me, but still a worthy piece of class AOR.  ****

Review by Andy Nathan

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