The Secrets of LA

1. Deep Whirlpool: Fergie Frederiksen
2. Stage Struck: Jeff Scott Soto
3. Secrets In The Shadows Jim Jidhed
4. Back To San Francisco: Bill Champlin
5. Out Of The Past: Bob Harris
6. The Name Of The Game: Robin Beck
7. Web Of Lies: Göran Edman
8. Hollow Triumph: Mikael Erlandsson
9. The Main Attraction: Bob Harris
10. Voices In The Wind: Tamara Champlin

Frédéric Slama : Guitars & Keyboards

L.A Concession (2000)
Next Stop : L.A (2001)
L.A Reflection (2002)
Dreaming of L.A (2003)
Nothing but the Best (2004)
L.A Attraction (2006)
Journey to L.A (2009)
The Colors of L.A (2012)
LA Temptation (2012)

Tommy Denander : All Instruments
Fergie Frederiksen : Lead & Backing Vocals
Jeff Scott Soto : Lead & Backing Vocals
Bill Champlin : Lead & Backing Vocals
Jim Jidhed : Lead & Backing Vocals
Robin Beck : Lead & Backing Vocals
Göran Edman : Lead & Backing Vocals
Mikael Erlandsson : Lead & Backing Vocals
Bob Harris : Lead & Backing Vocals
Tamara Champlin : Lead & Backing Vocals Ken Sandin : Backing Vocals
Dane Donohue : Backing Vocals
Alessandro Del Vecchio : Backing Vocals
Colin Rodgers : Guitars & Bass
Pat Thern : Drums

Written, Arranged & Produced by: Frédéric Slama & Tommy Denander

Released 2013-11-29
Reviewed 2013-12-10


Slama and his AOR is back with another album, counting best of and reissues the guy has managed twelve albums since starting in 2000, that is many albums. I reviewed them last time around, I was not overly impressed that time around. I think that album lacked emotion, it was just a fantastic production that glossed over an album with no depth at all. This time around I hope to hear something better, but again the album has LA in the name, a name that is all surface and no depth just like it was on the latest AOR-album. One has to respect Slama though, his musical skills are high and his ability to bring in those amazing musicians to his album is very impressive. But to be fair, I had no real hope of hearing anything overwhelming or mind boggling.

AOR is the name of the band, and the name of the genre they are performing. No real surprises in terms of music and content, one could almost hear the fear of deviating from the guidelines of the AOR rulebooks. I am not impressed by the creative ideas, but I am impressed with Robin Beck’s vocals in the sixth track, she has that certain something. The variation is quite small for an AOR album making the 49 minutes of playing time being just about what one can take of overpolished melodic rock music. Maybe it is slightly heavier than last time around but you still recognise the style of the songs and the character of the album.

Kind of like LA: lots of surface, not so much substance. I guess that is why he uses LA in the title of his albums this good frenchman. So what can we really take with us from an album that is so much more surface than substance? what is the best about it? Well, the production is excellent just like last time but the songs are, also like last time, just ordinary and doesn’t really grab me at all. It is an album that is so nice to have going in the background and then you find yourself a bit disappointed when you start paying attention to what sounds like a brilliant album. I wish there was something more beneath this very polished surface, the talent of the band is definitely not something to doubt as there is documented brilliance in abundance. Maybe none of this talent really bothered to bring out the best of the song they had, but that is not true either as Robin Beck is brilliant in her performance. I was however expecting more from Fergie, from Jeff Scott Soto and co. I end up feeling a tad disappointed but then realising that this is at least better than last time and it is not a bad album whatsoever, just not as good as it could/should have been.

A nonegrabber to be honest, however there is one track that does grab me and that is the nice energetic The Name of the Game where Robin Beck makes an excellent vocal performance in difference to most on this album who frankly are quite tired compared to what they can do. I don’t know if it is the high tempo in which he releases music or if it is something else that prevents the good old Slama to bring out the best of his songs.

Unfortunately the name AOR cannot be connected to brilliant AOR music, if you want that I think you should look at the latest by W.E.T. or Flying High by Laneslide which are two brilliant albums in the AOR genre released this year. An advice for future reference for AOR will be to spend less time polishing the sound and more time bringing out the essence of the songs.




Label: AOR Heaven/Germusica
Three similar bands: Toto/Journey/Ten
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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