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Jimmy Chamberlin Complex
Life Begins Again
Sanctuary Records

There's been a recent rash of rock drummers recording solo records. Last year's Jack Irons' record was surprising, with a great guest list and some definite moments of glory. However, Irons fell into an age-old drummer trap, and stuck closely to a more jazz styled framework. Jimmy Chamberlin judiciously decided to go a different road from his skin-bashing contemporaries. With the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex record, he has put together a sizeable collection of real rock songs that will appeal to fans of the bands he has played with, instead of making those fans wonder how jazz music fits into their rock and roll world.

Assembling his own cast of rocker friends, including old Smashing Pumpkins wunderkind Billy Corgan, Chamberlin showcases not only his excellent drumming abilities, but also shows himself to be quite a decent songwriter. Rob Dickinson from The Catherine Wheel makes an appreciable contribution to Life Begins Again, providing vocals on two tracks - "Life Begins Again" and "Love Is Real". "Life Begins Again" is sonic magic, with thick guitar lines and crisp rock drumming underscoring the heady vocals. Corgan appears on the downbeat "Loki Cat", which is a beautiful song filled with rolling drumbeats and chiming guitars. Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers fame sings his heart out on "Lullabye" and song co-writer Billy Mohler lends his voice to tracks "Newerwaves" and "Streetcrawler". "Lullabye" is a softly lilting groove which fits nicely into the closing strains of the record.

The instrumental tracks range from the muddled near-fusion vibes of "Streetcrawler" to the downright haunting beauty of "P.S.A.". The songs are well played, and well written, with very little to make a jazz-disliker like me shudder. Plenty of interesting parts adorn each song, great guitar tones included, and unlike many drummer solo records, the drums aren't heavy-handed and sonically overwhelming. Prettily balanced and well recorded is the name of Jimmy Chamberlin's game, and I for one, thank him for not being so overly egocentric as to make himself the focus of this record.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:

1. Streetcrawler
2. Life Begins Again
3. P.S.A.
4. Loki Cat
5. Cranes Of Prey
6. Love Is Real
7. Owed To Darryl
8. Newerwaves
9. Time Shift
10. Lullabye
11. Loki Cat (reprise)

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