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UNDER SUSPICION
UNDER SUSPICION

Frontiers / Now & Then FRCD 087
Produced by: Peter Roberts & Klay Shroedel

Released: OUT / Website
Relatives: Crown Of Thorns, Jimi Jamison
GENRE: AOR
OVERALL: 86%

  1. Welcome To My Life
  2. Love Without A Net
  3. End Of The Game (Duet w/Kip Winger)
  4. Come Tomorrow
  5. Hold On
  6. Just Your God
  7. Fly (Duet w/ Mikey Thomas)
  8. Destination Unknown
  9. I Will Live
  10. Traveller Of Time

Under Suspicion are best known as the backing band on Jimi Jamison's Empires release - which Klay co-produced. But they were more than that. Jeff Adams has toured with both Jamison and Starship, while Klay later joined the very band he was initially hired to produce.
Musically, this album is trans-Atlantic melodic rock. There are American FM rock radio elements to their sound, but there is a European influence also.
It's certainly not straight ahead stadium rock. The album takes several listens to get to know and does require some time concentrating on it's melodies.
If you do that, you will be rewarded with some of the most mature and catchy melodic rock tunes this year.
I should point out that the album is a little diverse, moving from smooth AOR to harder edge guitar driven tracks, with some musical comparison to the band's last gig with Jimi Jamison.
Like that album, these songs also are quite complex and require some listening to get to know.
The album opens with Welcome To My Life, a guitar drive track that both stylistically and vocally compares with Crown Of Thorns. True to say it could have been lifted from either of the band's last two releases, it's hard to tell the difference!
Love Without A Net is instantly a lot tougher than the opening track and includes the odd progressive riff in it's sound. End Of The Game is track that requires some attention. It is also a duet with Kip Winger. The moody and slow to mid-tempo song rolls along under the radar, until a point towards the end where both singers break out into a passionate vocal duel of sorts. Jeff Adams sings everything up to the end of the first chorus, with Kip taking over until the 2nd chorus where Jeff joins in. The guy's vocals are very close in style and it takes some close listening to appreciate just how close.
This track will be hard to get out of your head once it locks itself in!
Changing tempo is Come Tomorrow, a good uptempo rocker, with a subtle, but memorable chorus.
Hold On changes pace again. This is a big, slow ballad of the highest order, with a big passionate lead vocal taking control over the song. Moving towards the end of the song, I could have sworn that I was listening to Mike Reno in full flight.
Just Your God is another uptempo guitar driven track in the Crown Of Thorns vein.
Fly is another duet, this time with the great Mickey Thomas of Starship fame. Mickey again ads to the performance of lead vocalist Jeff Adams and to the texture of the song's harmony vocals.
Destination Unknown fits in with the sound and style of the album's other rock tracks - uptempo, guitar driven, with good choruses that don't necessarily move out of the style of the verses.
I Will Live is another very smooth, moody, mid paced ballad. Another good track that makes it's qualities known after several listens.
Traveller Of Time ends that album on a uptempo rocking note, with a strong guitar riff the main feature.
BOTTOM LINE: A solid debut album from a band of players that aren't that new to the scene at all. As a new band they have recorded an interesting and intelligent debut album that is majority melodic rock in style, but requires some extra attention in order to reap the benefits of the high quality songwriting and song structure.
Give the album time and there will be few better AOR records this year.
PRODUCTION: 80% SONGS: 88% VIBE: 85%ATTITUDE: 89%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Fans of mature melodic rock / AOR and intelligent American rock.





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