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Steve Harris

British Lion

(Universal; US: 25 Sep 2012; UK: 24 Sep 2012)

The late-career solo album is a risky move that most people shouldn’t take. As Nils Lofgren and any active member of the Eagles demonstrate, unless you want to end up playing gigs at casinos where half of the audience is receiving Social Security checks, the best time to pack up the amps is after the golden years are over. With Iron Maiden going surprisingly strong 30 years after The Number of the Beast, something led bassist and core member Steve Harris to think he ought try recording music under his name alone. Some might worry any Harris solo effort would be Iron Maiden by Another Name, but wisely Harris distances himself enough from his main project, avoiding merely cashing in on a style he’s already done successfully.


Yet despite distancing himself from Iron Maiden, he doesn’t do much in terms of making this ‘80s-heavy rock from sounding unique in and of itself. Foreigner, .38 Special, and most like-minded radio rock are clear reference points throughout. These genres are ones you’d expect Harris to find comfort in, but one would wish he’d be a little less comfortable and a lot more distinct. British Lion isn’t a bad record by any means; that it manages to dodge most of the pratfalls of solo records is a considerable feat. But without a sound to call its own, it’s a record likely to placate fans of Harris or Iron Maiden, but not do much more.

Rating:

Brice Ezell is the Assistant Editor of PopMatters, where he also reviews music, film, and books, which he has done since 2011. He also is the creator of PopMatters' Notes on Celluloid column, which covers the world of film music. His writing also appears in Sea of Tranquility and Glide Magazine (formerly Hidden Track). His short story, "Belle de Jour", was published in 67 Press' inaugural publication The Salmagundi: An Anthology. You can follow his attempts at wit on Twitter and Tumblr if you're so inclined. He lives in Chicago.


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