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ELEMENTS OF FRICTION
ELEMENTS OF FRICTION

MTM Music
Produced by: Ricky Phillips

Released: OUT / Website
Relatives: F/Phillips, Bad English
GENRE: AOR
OVERALL: 70%

  1. One Man One Heart
  2. Havana
  3. King Of Fools
  4. Read My Mind
  5. I Got Loaded
  6. Forever
  7. Who Is This Talking
  8. Light At The End Of The Tunnel
  9. One Fatal Word
  10. If Your Tomorrow Never Comes
  11. Innocent Touch

Elements Of Friction is a long awaited all start project fronted by songwriter / producer / bass player Ricky Phillips (Babys, Bad English, Coverdale Page), along with vocalist Robin McAuley (MSG, Grand Prix), Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne) and LA hot shot guitarist Marcus Nand.
Ricky has previously produced two albums with Fergie Frederiksen, both which I love as well as writing and playing in some of melodic rock's best loved bands.
I was really hanging out for this album, but have to admit it has taken me a long time to get into it properly. Initially I was a little disappointed.
I like it a lot, but with the caliber of artists involved, it really shouldn't have taken as long to like as it has. I can't put my finger on it, but there is a little something missing on this record. There is a small spark of life that isn't quite there.
It certainly isn't the quality of songs, as several have appeared elsewhere, either in well known form or as demo's.
There are also some very well known songwriters involved, such as Greg Giuffria, Tim Pierce, Dann Huff, Mark Spiro, John Waite, Jon Cain and Dan Reed.
A couple of songs are unused Bad English demo's. One example of that is the song Who Is This Talking - the well known demo with John Waite on vocals, but the version here just doesn't have the energy that the demo has. Robin McAuley does an Ok job on it, but maybe it's the acrobatic vocals of John Waite that make the song.
Maybe it is the mix of the album, maybe something else. Elements Of Friction still highlights some great AOR, with some fine performances and great songwriting, but as I have stated, I did expect something even better or a little more mind blowing.
As far as previous works, I still prefer Ricky's work on Frederiksen/Phillips and his production / playing on Fergie Frederiksen's solo album Equilibrium.
That's enough for negatives, there are still plenty of positives. Robin McAuley does a great job as far as vocals do. It's nice to hear him sounding as smooth as ever and in better form vocally than his mid-90's solo album finally released last year.
One Man One Heart - previous recorded by Kansas, opens the album. It's a moody rock track that smolders along. I do prefer the Kansas version though.
Havana is another old Phillips demo that is reproduced in pretty good form here, it's an uptempo rocker and one of the album's more aggressive tracks. King Of Fools is a laid back pop rock ballad and Read My Mind is a cool uptempo and more in your face track.
Robin sounds in great form here. The chorus doesn't grab you immediately, but soon becomes more familiar and before you know it, you are singing it to yourself hours later.
I Got Loaded is a mid-tempo track that doesn't quite hit the spot. It just rolls along without matching the quality of some of the other tracks.
Forever is a much better ballad. This retains the moodiness of the rest of the album and again smolders along, but with more passion and a little more urgency.
Who Is This Talking I mentioned above. I hope that one day the John Waite version might get wide release.
Light At The End Of The Tunnel is another track of mid tempo pace that doesn't quite shine as brightly as other tracks. There is no major hooks to carry the song through.
One Fatal Word is another dark and moody track, but with a good hook in the chorus that makes the song memorable.
If Your Tomorrow Never Comes is one of my favorite tracks. It starts off slow and builds, turning into an AOR anthem by the time the chorus appears.
Innocent Touch ends the album, but not on a major high. Rather isn't another mid tempo tune that again gets better after repeated listening, but could have been better.
BOTTOM LINE: An album of infinite possibilities that sees some fulfilled and others not. The production and sound quality is great and some of the AOR songwriting exemplary. But with some of the spark missing, the record feels flat on some tracks and takes away from the possible classic status the album and band should have achieved. Next album for sure.
PRODUCTION: 80% SONGS: 85% VIBE: 50%ATTITUDE: 75%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Pure AOR fans, fans of Ricky Phillips and Robin McAuley.




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