Reigniting their passion and presence as a long-standing band, with hit singles to their name from the seventies and eighties, California sees Les and Loretta Fradkin return in 2023, with the 12-track album California Loves You.
Featuring six already released singles, including Perfect World, plus six unheard originals, California Loves You provides a timeless look at the embrace and influence of music from across the decades. The project stands tall on the strength of its pop-kissed writing and the organic, often multi-vocal warmth of the performances that shine light on this.
Bursting into life with a nostalgically upbeat and tape-deck style opener, the aptly-titled Singalong With California introduces the voice and musicianship of the band, whilst delivering on that singalong aspect with an infectious outro of simple, joyful ‘la la la’s to naturally get audiences involved.
Through The Looking Glass follows and the sound has a rockier edge but a smooth, reflective leading voice – poetic and contemplative, inspiring a sense of wonder that ultimately energises as the bright and again catchy hook rains down.
Eclecticism instrumentally is undoubtedly a strength for California Loves You. The Beach Boys bounce and horn section of Take A Chance highlights this early on, and still that now-familiar leading voice maintains essential threads to the California identity. Another bold and bright, hooky central celebration provides more of those roots; to the intentions and style of this project.
Highlights include the funky and cinema-style nostalgia of a passionate and uplifting Come To Me – a personal favourite. Then with a contrasting mood, we get a lyrical journey and self-reflection that’s relatable and dreamy, for the ambitious Willin.
Ivy, Ivy also stands out for similar reasons of juxtaposing what came before. Here we’re gifted a mellow stomp of a rhythm, a piano-led ballad of poetry and vulnerability, again rising up towards a bright and beautiful hook.
Island vibes pour through for the colorful and aptly-titled follower, and then to mix things up further still, Christmas Vacation explodes into view with a multi-layered pop-rock set-up that again underlines the musical versatility of California.
During the final moments, Everything Is Gonna Be Alright proves an outright classic pop-rock hit, a definite highlight and beautifully arranged and performed. Then to finish, the softness and heart of We Still Love You brings a further hit of hopeful togetherness, connecting for its intimate approach and clearly devoted intentions.
The California sound is alive and well, and there’s no better time to delve in and appreciate the uplift and musicianship of this professionally crafted, largely cheerful collection.