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.
2. Life Begins Again
4. Loki Cat
5. Cranes Of Prey
6. Love Is Real
7. Owed To Darryl
9. Time Shift
11. Loki Cat (reprise)
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