Life Begins Again

Life Begins Again

by Jimmy Chamberlin
     
 
The title of this disc, the former Smashing Pumpkins drummer's first outing as a leader, is perfectly apt, what with the feeling of musical rebirth that flows from its grooves. Chamberlin has, to some degree, moved on from the Pumpkins' lush alterna-prog vibe, replacing it with a sinewy sound that owes a bit to jazz fusion and a bit

Overview

The title of this disc, the former Smashing Pumpkins drummer's first outing as a leader, is perfectly apt, what with the feeling of musical rebirth that flows from its grooves. Chamberlin has, to some degree, moved on from the Pumpkins' lush alterna-prog vibe, replacing it with a sinewy sound that owes a bit to jazz fusion and a bit to the cosmic rock of the pre-punk early '70s. The latter element is particularly evident in the engagingly brittle "Cranes of Prey," which conjures up images of King Crimson in full flight, while the former rears its head on the lush "Loki Cat" (which features guest vocals by ex-bandmate Billy Corgan). For a disc helmed by a drummer, Life Begins Again is surprisingly unfussy in terms of rhythm. Rather than boss the songs around, Chamberlin is content to lay back in the pocket, letting guitarist Sean Woostenhulme and organist Adam Benjamin propel songs like the skittish "Owed to Darryl." Chamberlin also calls upon a wildly varied array of vocal talent, including Rob Dickinson of the Catherine Wheel (who takes center stage on the anthemic title track) and Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers (whose mellifluous baritone buoys the sultry "Lullabye"). At times, Chamberlin seems ready to throw everything but the kitchen sink into the songs collected here, but that's easily attributed to first-timer's enthusiasm, and he's deft enough with his sonic spicing to make the overall recipe taste just fine.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ned Raggett
Though it's billed as his band first and foremost, in ways it's more accurate to call the solo debut of Jimmy Chamberlin, the brilliant jazz-into-hard rock drummer who helped make the Smashing Pumpkins deservedly famous, a collaborative effort growing out of jams with a guy named Billy. Not with Billy Corgan, though he does show up to do vocals on the gently moody "Lokicat" -- interestingly, with lyrics from Chamberlin, who wrote them throughout, aside from one song. Instead, Chamberlin's partner is one Billy Mohler, a journeyman songwriter and musician who's worked on a variety of efforts before this project. Chamberlin's sonic stamp, however, is the unsurprising core of Life Begins Again, as one listen to the rolling, rapid-fire fills on the opening "Streetcrawler" demonstrates; the similar deftness of touch mixed with power is on display throughout, showing that if anything his abilities haven't suffered even after personal and professional upheaval. This said, some songs can sound, well, a lot like the Smashing Pumpkins -- not constantly and entirely (guitarist Sean Woolstenhulme can crank up the feedback but even the often-brawling "Cranes of Play" doesn't turn into monstrous riff mayhem), but there's the same sense of aggro and delicious melancholia on display, more than once suggesting what a version of Adore with Chamberlin on drums might have sounded like. One of the most inspired moves on the album is the use of guest vocalists as the album alternates between instrumentals and vocal numbers. Besides Mohler (on the shoegaze-tinged "Neverwaves") and Corgan's turn, there's a guest spot by Righteous Brothers legend Bill Medley on "Lullabye to Children." Perhaps most enjoyable of all, however, are the two songs sung by Catherine Wheel frontman Rob Dickinson, whose warm, aching voice fits in perfectly on the title track and "Love Is Real." Meanwhile, among the instrumental highlights are "P.S.A.," which besides being a fine showcase for Woolstenhulme gives Chamberlin a chance to go drum crazy on the break, and the more overtly jazz jam of "Owed to Darryl."

Product Details

Release Date:
01/25/2005
Label:
Sanctuary Records
UPC:
0060768473423
catalogNumber:
84734

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jimmy Chamberlin   Primary Artist,Drums,Group Member
Bill Medley   Vocals,Track Performer
Billy Corgan   Vocals
Rob Dickinson   Vocals
Bill Corgan   Track Performer
Sean Woolstenhulme   Guitar,Track Performer,Group Member
Billy Mohler   Bass,Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Track Performer,Group Member
Linda Strawberry   Background Vocals
Paul Chamberlin   Drums,Track Performer
Corey Wilton   Guitar
Rob Dickenson   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Jimmy Chamberlin   Composer,Producer
Machito Sanchez   Engineer
Sean Woolstenhulme   Composer
Billy Mohler   Composer,Producer
Edmond Monsef   Engineer
Forrest Borie   Video Editor,Video Producer
Frank Gironda   Management
Corey Wilton   Artwork

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