Fret Fever (Capitol, ST 11932)

  1. South American Run (Troiano/Kenner) 3:41
  2. Ambush (Troiano) 3:45
  3. We All Need Love (Troiano) 5:35
  4. It's You (Troiano) 3:14
  5. It's Raining, It's Pouring (Troiano) 3:25
  6. Give Me a Chance (Troiano) 2:15
  7. Your Past (is a Part of You) (Troiano) 3:44
  8. Fret Fever (Troiano) 3:48
  9. Brains on the Floor (Troiano) 4:01
  10. Victim of Circumstance (Tyson) 3:38
  11. Achilles (Troiano) 3:56
  12. The End (Troiano) 0:45
Produced by Domenic Troiano
Engineered by Mike Jones
Recorded at Sounds Interchange, Toronto

Song for song, this is possibly Dom's most entertaining album, but it's too scattershot to qualify as his best. Roy Kenner sings most of the songs that have words. Musically, the album is a grab bag of several different styles. Dom lets loose and rocks a little more here than on previous albums. In general, the attitude seems to be, "Let's have some fun and see if we can get a hit in the process." On the inner sleeve of the LP, Dom is pictured with his band, and they look like a bunch of hellraisers (where's Kenner?). Individually, the songs here are strong, but as a whole, the album lacks unity.
Fret Fever knocks you on your ass 5 seconds into it. The album begins with the 1-2 punch of "South American Run" and "Ambush." The opening number is an absolute basher and Domenic's best ever rocker. No hint of jazz or blues here, just a big, fat rock riff, incredible drumming from Paul DeLong, and Roy Kenner occasionally taking a break from singing to scream "WOOOOOOOO!!!" This is a good one to blast on your stereo to test the limits of your speakers. "Ambush" is an energetic jazz-rock instrumental that features a short solo from each of the band members midway through the song. Then the mood changes with "We All Need Love," a disco tune which turned out to be Domenic's biggest solo hit, strangely enough. The album takes another turn with "It's You," a quiet ballad with nice vocals from Kenner. "It's Raining, It's Pouring" is a solid fusion song with a great guitar tone and neat sound effects at the beginning and end of the song. Domenic manages to get a lead vocal in before the end of the first side with "Give Me a Chance," a concise little tune with beautifully lucid guitar work.
"Your Past" sounds strong enough for radio airplay, again sung by Kenner. In fact, I believe it was issued as a single to promote the album. Lyrically, "Fret Fever" is similar to "Shooting Star" by Bad Company, a tale of a boy who becomes a rock star but quickly burns out. Written and sung by Domenic, it is somewhat autobiographical. "It's the music that counts, not who they think you are" says it all. Considering this is Troiano's last solo album, the track is like a pat on the back to the fans who stuck with him. "Brains on the Floor," about a hangover, is a blues tune played with a slow funk beat. From here on out, it's all instrumental. "Victim of Circumstance" was written by keyboard player Dave Tyson. It's a complex but intriguing song played in an odd time. "Achilles" starts out sounding like a clone of "Eleanora Fagan" from The Joke's on Me. As the song progresses, it evolves from a ballad to a funky jam. Great guitar work by Domenic on this one. The album closes with a song ironically titled "The End." Actually it's not so ironic, as it marks the end of Domenic's solo work altogether. It's a minute-long, free jazz-ish piece where all the band members sound like they're on speed. There's not really any structure, just the sonic equivalent of driving down a dark, unfamiliar highway at 130 miles an hour. So ends the solo work of a truly underappreciated musician.

Domenic Troiano | Tricky | Burnin' at the Stake | The Joke's on Me | Fret Fever

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