Reviewed by Aaron Cloutier
Singer/songwriter Les Fradkin returns to the fray with his recently reactivated band “California” to bring us a valentine’s day offering - the boogie-laden “Arrow Through Your Heart.” This gem of a song is an upbeat throwback style anthem heavily inspired by classic Motown and Brit-Pop mixed with the pristine clean harmonies reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac and The Beach Boys.
A collaborative effort between Les and his wife Loretta Pieper Fradkin, the sounds that this creative team blend together creates a mood that is infectiously optimistic. Listeners will be elevated, within seconds of playback, as the driving Motown rhythms, thumping bass lines, lush synthesizers, and soaring guitar solos dance out of their speakers. The songwriting is intentionally lean with absolutely zero filler taking up precious seconds, like a recipe that only uses exactly what's needed to get the right vibe. There is no beating around the bush when it comes to getting to the strongly crafted hooks and catchy melodies.
Fradkin’s voice is as earnest and affable as ever. He sings with a warmth and vulnerability that really conveys the message of what it's like to nurture a relationship in this day and age. With lyrics like “Our eyes both see. You’re always there to love me.” and “Give this guy a chance. We can find romance.” it’s easy to see how a song like “Arrow Through Your Heart” makes for the ideal number to dance with the one your truly love.
The group California, featuring Les Fradkin (Vocals, Piano, Mellotron, Guitars, Bass, Producer and Songwriter) as it’s founding Original Member and still leading the group to this day, were Laurie Records recording Artists in the 1970’s and 1980’s. California had several Hit Singles during that time period including “See You In September”, “Jeans On”,“Summer Fun Medley” and “He’s Almost You”. Other California highlights included an appearance on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand TV show singing “Summer Fun Medley” as well as a Top 50 UK Chart placing for “He’s Almost You”. In fact, in 2020, a California B-Side “Paris (1945)” roared to the top of the Dutch and EU Charts.