Review: Thomas Lassar – From Now On
Art Of Melody Music / Burning Minds Music Group (April 14th 2023)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Classy. That’s the first word that came to mind after I heard the debut album from former Crystal Blue vocalist/keyboardist Thomas Lassar. When first single ‘Whatever I Do’ was released a month ago, I found it to be a catchy blast of top-shelf AOR and I instantly wanted to hear more. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, seek out this song and come back to this review. You will thank me later. It immediately reminded me of the Mitch Malloy song ‘Anything at All’. While both songs each have distinct melody lines, they have the same type of anthemic drive and feel, the type of song that will raise your spirits and make your heart soar. In fact, several songs remind me of that classic album.
If you liked the initial single, there’s plenty more where that came from. It cannot be a coincidence that my favorite tracks feature guitar solos from Danger Danger’s Rob Marcello. I love him in Danger Danger and he brings his great feel for that band here. Along with the first single, ‘The Only One’ and ‘Turn Back Time’ have those soaring choruses that would have easily made the Top 20 singles chart back in the late 80s.
So many wonderful tracks to listen to that I found myself jumping around to what my favorite tracks were on different days. Second single, and album opener ‘When My Ship Comes In’ has a fantastic melody and I absolutely love the distinctness of the prominent female background vocals in the chorus provided courtesy of Michaela Lassar Persson. The following track ‘Losing Faith’ offers something different from other tracks. A slow burn groove and a darker edge, with a prodigious bridge that reminds me of something Winger have done in some of their songs. ‘Take Me Higher’ has a Toto ‘Isolation’-era feel to it, with a keyboard melody that would make the comparing band proud.
As with most albums like this, there are ballads and they are everything you would expect from an album like this, passionate and heartfelt. ‘Back Where I Started’ is all about pain, regret, and the need to move forward. It will be hard not to reminisce while listening along. The closing title track starts with just a piano before building in steam with the band jumping in before ending with a powerful refrain of the title that sends the track into the stratosphere.
This album was written by Tommy when he went back to complete old demos during the pandemic. While there was tremendous despair and uncertainty that resulted in the lockdown, there were shining lights through the darkness, and this album is one of them. Art of Melody Music took one listen and immediately signed a distribution deal and it’s easy to see why. It’s one of the finest AOR albums I’ve heard in years. Maybe I’m being naïve having never listened to Tommy’s former band and if I am then I’ve been missing out. If you are passionate about AOR bands like Journey, Survivor, and REO Speedwagon, then you need to grab the album everyone will be talking about as one of the finest releases of the decade.
- When My Shop Comes In
- Losing Faith
- Whatever I Do
- In Control
- Back Where I Started
- The Beginning of the End
- The Only One
- Turn Back Time
- Take Me Higher
- From Now On