Who is Les Fradkin? Mr. Fradkin is a dedicated lifelong musician whose career spans decades. Born in NYC and raised in the Bronx before settling down in sunny California. Safe to say music has taken him coast to coast and beyond. Behind piano keys is where it all began. Once he got going, nothing was stopping his ambition to create. Learning studio production in the 1960’s was different from today’s Pro Tools laptop world. Back then studio producers had to physically cut and splice tapes. Searching for new sounds was the mission. Creativity and ingenuity were key. It was the wild west of modern music production and Les Fradkin was there. Today in celebration of the journey we receive the new album, California Loves You.
Hit play, now groove to rhythmic rhythm dancing from the speakers as “Singalong With California” and its flirtatious sound moves your feet. Short and sweet, “Singalong With California” beautifully sets up “Through The Looking Glass” like an NBA alley oop.
Bringing out the big guns is exactly what “Through The Looking Glass” is all about. Tom Petty pop comes across thanks to hooky chorus lyrics and flowing songwriting. Emitting energy like a powerplant, “Through The Looking Glass” moves with power and finesse. Take for example, in the second half of the song. After the second vocal chorus, the music pushes the intensity like a speeding car reaching 100 MPH. Then the guitar solo hits, nitrous oxide detonates in the engine’s combustion chamber and we’re flying! Les begins to ease us off the NOS for a safe arrival back to the vocal chorus. He bids us farewell. A five-star yelp experience.
I’m a sucker for a heartfelt ballad so “Ivy Ivy” resonated with me. Evoking memory lane emotions musically and from my personal past. Feeling’s I would describe as replaying my life’s events through the lens of The Wonder Years. Musically, Bob Dylan comes to mind. The rocking over the top guitar leads, bring images of the iconic Randy Rhoads photograph. Another great wrinkle to the track is the heavy-handed drumming. I wondered “is Lar Ulrich back there laying down the beat?” The heavy-handed drums ensure whatever melancholy feelings arise, we’ll wipe the tears away and continue marching forward. Nostalgic nirvana can be experienced at the push of a button.
Les Fradkin has led a heck of a life. Google his Wikipedia and see for yourself. The band’s new album is solid. All twelve songs featured on ‘California Loves You’ are stand-alone singles. Rock N Roll “pop” is a running theme throughout the new LP. 60’s guitar pop combined with Bee Gees “I Started A Joke” depth as Tom Petty and Randy Rhoads vibes closely orbit is all in play. The songs offer different flavors but never stray far away from the core. I absolutely suggest this album to anyone who is a fan of Rock N Roll pop. True fans of pop music should immediately recognize subtle cues of rock n roll’s past. The influences that Les has soaked up over the decade’s shine bright like city lights. His experience adds a surefooted warmth. A warmth felt, heard, omnipresent and safe. Just remember, California loves you.