AOR Heaven [Release date 26.10.15]

CWF is a West Coast AOR supergroup teaming up Toto’s Joseph Williams with former Chicago vocalist Bill Champlin and guitarist/producer Peter Friestedt. The trio have released a live DVD already and Williams & Friestedt released a cracking AOR album a few years ago on the same label.

There are some very Toto sounding songs on here like ‘Runaway’ and ‘Aria’, not just because of Joseph Williams vocals, but the music is like classic Toto. Plenty of layered music and attention to detail on every note used. Having Bill Champlin on the album is a real bonus, as they complement each other nicely. The acapella of ‘Rivers Of Fear’ is stunning, the two voices work so well together.

There is also a faithful cover of the Earth, Wind & Fire classic ‘After The Love Has Gone’ (Champlin was one of the co-writers on the song), with Champlin on lead vocals as you’d expect and Williams adding his classy backing vocals. Peter Friestedt gets to let rip on a couple of songs, well as heavy as you can get in the confines of the west coast AOR genre! ‘All That I Want’ and the aforementioned ‘Runaway’ feature great guitar riffs.

The softer side of AOR on this album, fans of Toto’s Joseph Williams albums and Chicago’s 80′s output will love this one. Proper west coast AOR as in high quality music and production, perfect for winding down and relaxing to.  ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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