Peter Frampton: Thank You Mr. Churchill

RIYL: Rainbow, Jeff Beck, Bad Company

It’s easy to judge anything Peter Frampton releases based on his body of work, which includes Frampton Comes Alive, arguably one of the greatest live albums in rock history. So we almost have to cut him a bit of slack if he’s lost a bit of that powerful rock voice and some of his ability to write good hooks. But as he shows on his latest, Thank You Mr. Churchill, Frampton can still play the guitar like a madman; and as he was reunited with producer/engineer Chris Kimsey (who produced Frampton’s 1972 solo debut), he can still deliver epic classic rock songs with guitar solos that linger like they did in the ‘70s. It’s also what Frampton calls an autobiographical record, as the title stems from him thanking Winston Churchill for bringing his dad back safely from World War II and therefore giving Frampton a life. Rockers like “Solution” and the slow burning “Asleep at the Wheel” are the best retro sounding numbers, but Frampton also shines on the powerful instrumental, “Suite Liberte,” and the funky “Restraint.” Oh, and don’t miss the old style fuzz box tone Frampton uses on “Invisible Man,” which evokes memories of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid album. On “Restraint” and a few other tracks, Frampton touches on world politics a bit (“Restraint” is about the Wall Street bailout), but admittedly his strength is in making his guitar scream, and the ability to make the classic rock meter needle jump like crazy. For the most part, Peter Frampton does just that, yet again. (New Door 2010)

Peter Frampton MySpace Page


Lady Sovereign: Jigsaw

Lady Sovereign, Jigsaw
The recent release of UK rapper Lady Sovereign’s much-anticipated second LP, Jigsaw comes after 2006’s Public Warning, and the 2007 EP Those Were The Days. While her success on U.S Top 40 charts has been minimal, the self-poclaimed, “biggest midget in the game” has pulled out all the stops for Jigsaw and delivered an eleven-song LP that packs a punch, but unfortunately fails to follow through.

The record opens with a repetitive song titled, “Let’s Be Mates,” which, “a rocky start.” Perhaps the overbearing techno beats and lackluster lyrics had something to do with it. The LA Times took a dislike to track one, calling it, “phoned-in Cat Power bedroom pop that squanders her endearing MC skills.”

Jigsaw continues with “So Human,” a track built around The Cure’s “Close To Me,” which DrownedInSound called an improvement on the original. Then comes the money-hungry anthem, “Pennies” and the surprisingly streamlined, “Guitar.”

Unfortunately for the Lady, BBC reviewed Jigsaw saying the final three songs, “delve in to filler territory, with ‘Student Union’, ‘Food Play’ and ‘I Got The Goods’ sounding like unfinished prototypes.” The bulk of the record seems to fall flat among critics, earning this lady less-than-rave reviews. The LA Times wrote, “[this record is] sonically a good fit for her nimble and still undeniable flow, but the wheels come off whenever Sov’s newfound earnestness undermines her insouciant appeal.” The Boston Globe also ripped the tiny rapper, saying, “on her third album…Lady Sovereign sounds like the life of the party who gets lonely when it’s over.” Her efforts seem earnest, but they haven’t exactly paid off magnificently.

All hope is not lost, however. The Austin Chronicle wrote of Jigsaw, with this record, “Lady Sovereign reaffirms that she’s the singular queen bee in the hive of the still-buzzing London grime syndicate.” The bottom line regarding Jigsaw is that there isn’t much substance, but somehow Lady Sovereign manages to maintain her composure and deliver an acceptable album. Critics may not love it, but there’s something to be said for a little controversy.

Check out Jigsaw on iTunes, or at Lady Sovereign’s MySpace here.