|Frederiksen / Denander Baptism By Fire||Frontiers Records|
The Fergie Frederiksen / Tommy Denander partnership makes a lot of sense. After all, Fergie's vocal tracks on Tommy's last couple of Radioactive projects were the highlight of those albums.
So in essence, Frederiksen/Denander is an expansion upon those Radioactive appearances…a main course rather than a mere appetizer.|
Elaborating further, everything on this album is bigger and better than what we've been dished up previously.
Naturally we get lashings of Tommy Denander's usual guitar/keyboard/synth programming style that is synonymous with every one of his records, but in this case the production is far superior thanks to a tight Dennis Ward mix, and turning in a blinding vocal performance is the star of this show - Fergie Frederiksen.
He really sounds in super fine voice and is a treat to listen to. Having been a fan of Fergie's since his debut with Toto on the still classic Isolation album, I can safely say this is one of his finest vocal performances.
The songwriting I must say is of high standard too, even if we have heard it before.
I wouldn't say this record pushes any boundaries or challenges any preconceived notion of the two performers, but it does deliver the quality expected of both and then some.
The opening bars of the album may be a little predictable, but once the chorus of Let Him Go arrives, all is forgiven. This is a glorious harmony filled track with a nice touch of piano.
Other rockers include the straight forward Silver Lining which features a wonderful lead vocal through the verse; the stampeding Crossing Over which is an album highlight; and the darker and intense Baptism By Fire.
Never Try And Love Again is pure AOR bliss and Dead End is a high-tech styled pop rocker with a little attitude. Keep A Light On rolls along with ease but perhaps misses a bigger hook.
Right Heart, Wrong Time showcases a more laid back aspect of the songwriting, but still manages to soar with another defining chorus.
Written In Stone follows a similar path and is one of two very Toto-ish tracks on the album. The jazzy Isolation styled Left With Nothing is the other – itself another album highlight.
A couple of songs don't work in the sense that they just sound a little programmed and all too familiar. For me that is Saving Grace and Can't Get Enough.
And it would be remiss of me to not comment on the lack of a ballad or two here?
There are ten very consistent tracks here and a couple that I think don't quite impact as well as they could.
Perhaps those two tracks could have been swapped for a couple of killer ballads? That would have given the album an even better balance and sent AOR fans into a real tizzy.
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