'The Secrets Of L.A.'
Release Date: 2nd December 2013
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
Frédéric Slama is the beating heart and thoughtful brain behind this concept. Utilising the AOR tag he has already released 11 albums since the year 2000, which incorporate the L.A. name in the titles and showcase the melodic and lighter styles of the vast Universe of Rock music.
The novel spin that this guitarist and keyboardist uses for his albums is to include as much as possible, various names and talents from the world of Melodic Rock. Whether they are members of Toto, Yngiwe Malmsteen, Lionville, Chicago or anyone else for that matter, Slama finds a home for them within his songs.
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When you reach album number 12, you'd be expecting some tired ideas or perhaps something akin to a repeat of previous efforts, but the sound is tougher than on his back catalogue. Still residing in the realms of the melodic, Slama handles the production duties of his vision and thankfully found that presenting a little more prominence to the guitar has brought about something punchier and striking.
There are naturally keyboards in the mix, and some tasty vocal performances which are not lost, and all work well together providing a set of complementary ingredients. On reflection it may well be the masterstroke of assembling such a cast of talents that give this multi-talented musician and producer his creative edge, pushing him to produce material worthy of their time and incorporating their contributions accordingly?
For those who love their Rock in this style there is much to enjoy. Check out Robin Beck delivering a solid performance on 'The Name Of The Game' which arrives after her very impressive album 'Underneath' unleashed earlier this year. 'Deep Whirlpool' which cranks up the urgency right at the beginning of 'The Secrets Of L.A.' features another Melodic Rock heavyweight in the shape of Fergie Frederiksen on vocals and is another stand out moment along with second track 'Stage Struck'. This latter track showcases the highly regarded Jeff Scott Soto tackling singing duties.
Other vocal contributions on the ten songs included on this album include Jim Jidhed (Alien), Bill Champlin (Chicago), Bob Harris (Axe), Goran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen), Mikael Erlandsson (Last Autumn's Dream) and Tamara Champlin. They all do a sterling job and as collaborations go, all involved should feel suitably proud of the results. Not to be outshined, Tommy Denander (Radioactive, Paul Stanley & Alice Cooper) offers up his skills with the music, credited with playing all instruments.
Due to the nature of this sub-genre of the Rock scene, a good production brings out the best from the essence of this sound and the same applies to 'The Secrets Of L.A.' as the slick delivery of 'Secrets In The Shadows' and closing number 'Voices In the Wind' wash over with a silky touch.
Slamas was known in the earlier releases of his canon of work as more of a West Coast sounding songwriter which changed over time to accommodate more of an all round Melodic Rock feel in later years. With 'The Secrets Of L.A.', he's found a driven and edgier overall sound which makes this album carry a contemporary and satisfying palette.
1. Deep Whirlpool: with Fergie Frederiksen
2. Stage Struck: with Jeff Scott Soto
3. Secrets In The Shadows; with Jim Jidhed
4. Back To San Francisco: with Bill Champlin
5. Out Of The Past: with Bob Harris
6. The Name Of The Game: with Robin Beck
7. Web Of Lies: with Göran Edman
8. Hollow Triumph: with Mikael Erlandsson
9. The Main Attraction: with Bob Harris
10. Voices In The Wind: with Tamara Champlin
With backing vocals by;
Ken Sandin: Backing Vocals, Dane Donohue: Backing Vocals, Alessandro Del Vecchio: Backing Vocals
Band Line Up On this album:
Frederic Slama - Guitar, and Keyboards, Pat Thern - Drums & Percussion, Tommy Denander – All Instruments, Colin Rodgers – Guitar, Bass