80's, Easy-Listening, Old School
"With a well-functioning formula, "L.A. Suspicion" offers once again a pleasant moment of a Westcoast that nevertheless purrs too much to allow A.O.R. to go to the next level."
LOLOCELTIC (21.07.2022)  
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Since 2000 and his first opus "L.A. Concession", Frederic Slama has made A.O.R. a reference in the style of which it bears the name while giving it a strong Westcoast identity. After 22 years of recording career, fifteen studio albums systematically integrating the initials of the City of Angels (L.A.) in their title, and a bunch of compilations of all kinds, here comes "L.A. Suspicion" seeming to contain all the usual ingredients of the French guitarist expatriated to the States. A bunch of singers having, for the most part, already intervened on previous opuses of the project, and a Tommy Denander supporting once again his old friend, and here we go for a new ribbon of odes to the sunny ambiences of the Californian coast.

Headbanging fans can skip it, A.O.R. is quite soft and strongly anchored in the 80s. The shadows of Toto ('Cold Logic'), Survivor ('Arrow Thru' My Heart') and Journey (a 'Street Of Illusions' strongly inspired by 'Separate Ways') sometimes hover, even if we are far from reaching the level of these legends of the genre. Like its often linear drums, this opus purrs pleasantly and without real false note, but it struggles to trigger emotions. Fortunately, the gleaming guitars of the pair Slama / Denander regularly come to illuminate titles which seemed to go a little in circles.

As for the singers, Robbie LaBlanc (Blanc Faces, Find Me) marks his first appearance on A.O.R. by making 'Cold Logic' one of the highlights of this opus. Thus, 'A Smile In Your Heart' opens the festivities with a catchy riff and chorus, even if Steph Honde's (Hollywood Monsters, Scream Taker) hoarse vocals seem a bit out of place with the musical genre in honor. As usual, the Rolls Royce of the genre that is Steve Overland (FM) allows a 'Stronger Than Desire' to be placed on the top of the opus. Finally, Paul Sabu proves that he knew how to adapt his singing to the compositions of his colleague, contrary to Honde who stubbornly tries to do tons on the different titles he interprets.

Mixed results for this "L.A. Suspicion" which will not allow A.O.R. to enter the first division of the genre. In spite of obvious qualities which allow to spend a pleasant moment, the whole struggles to take off. It is very likely that the Frenchman will come back quickly with a new opus to try to cross a level towards the tops, but will it still interest many people?
- Official website

01. A Smile In My Heart (feat. Steph Honde) - 4:35
02. The Girl You Won't Leave Behind (feat. Markus Nordenberg) - 5:11
03. Cold Logic (feat. Robbie Lablanc) - 4:44
04. Stronger Than Desire (feat. Steve Overland) - 4:34
05. Arrow Thru' My Heart (feat. Steph Honde) - 5:08
06. Scene Of The Crime (feat. Markus Nordenberg) - 4:21
07. Street Of Illusions (feat. Paul Sabu) - 4:52
08. Hold Back Tomorrow (feat. Bill Kelly) - 4:15
09. Lost In Cold Heaven (feat. Michael Stosic) - 5:07
10. A Broken Heart In Tokyo (feat. Steph Honde) - 4:25

Frédéric Slama: Guitares / Claviers
Tommy Denander: Guitares / Basse / Claviers / Batterie
Bill Kelly: Chant / Invité
Markus Nordenberg: Chant / Invité
Michael Stosic: Chant / Invité
Paul Sabu: Chant / Invité
Robbie LaBlanc: Chant / Invité
Steph Honde: Chant / Invité
Steve Overland: Chant / Invité
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