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"If this Summer you're looking for a slice of American Radio Rock to really drive the heartache of the winter blues from your coattails and put the cream back on the cake, you shouldn't pass by this release." So reads the opening sentence of the press blurb accompanying the promo copy of this album. Far from a selling point for myself as "American Radio Rock" engenders preconceptions of genericism and cheesy pop-rock pastiche; not at all my listening preference. However, the credentials of the two men behind this project are perhaps a tad more intriguing. Vocalist Jospeph Williams, son of famed multiple Oscar winning film composer John Williams, used to front Toto during the mid-late 80s and has been a backing singer for Chicago as well as scoring various film soundtracks, and sung the part of the adult Simba in 'The Lion King' movie. A varied CV! Guitarist Peter Friestedt's career has been less colourful and maybe not as prolific although he's worked successfully as a producer, composer and musician with two notable releases prior to this collaboration with Williams, 'LA Project' and 'LA Project II'. So, preconception aside, what of the actual songs on this album? Well, the press sheet isn't lying - "a slice of American Radio Rock" is exactly what greets my ears upon hitting play. But does it "really drive the heartache of the winter blues from your coattails and put the cream back on the cake"? I guess the answer would be a resounding yes if radio-friendly cheesy pop-rock still excites you in the twenty first century, but the album will indubitably be the cause of heartache if the idea of subjecting your ears to such middle of the road, easy listening bilge terrifies the fuck out of you. Well, that last sentence is maybe a tad harsh, but true for those who favour originality, innovation and a greater depth of sincerity and emotion in their listening proclivities. Every cliché in the book is present here - predictable lyrics, formulaic song structures, vocal harmonies galore on choruses, easy-on-the-ear unchallenging guitar solos, cheesy keyboards, the occasional balladic number, tried and tested melodies that don't really develop into anything interesting (although might encourage those who demand little from their music to sing along), etc, etc... On the positive side, the whole thing is extremely well produced and mixed, as one would expect for radio friendly fodder such as what Williams and Friestedt have spewed out here. And at least it's short at just over thirty minutes. As it is though, this does entirely nothing for me. Roll on the winter.
AOR Heaven
Review by Mark Holmes
30th May 2011
1) Swear Your Love
2) Say Goodbye
3) Sometimes You Win
4) Where To Touch You
5) Going Home
6) Stay With Me
7) One More Night
8) Gotta Find It
9) Letter To God
"Every cliché in the book is present here..."