I have to admit I was never a big fan of Aztec Camera, I've never owned any of their work and haven't heard much of them apart from the chart hits. And I was until recently unaware of just how incredibly talented Roddy Frame is. Now I'm kicking myself for wasted listening time! This album is as near perfect a pop album as I think I've heard. Roddy Frame has the most incredible ability to write songs with both great lyrics and really biting hooks, the sort of songs you get stuck in your head and lead you to play an album to death. This is such an album. 10 songs in all may seem a little short, especially when the writing is as strong as it is here, but there is no weak filler on here. In fact it is almost unfair to pick out the real gems here because all the songs are of such quality. If I were to pick out my real favourites they'd have to be North Star for some really beautiful lyrics and a killer chorus, Strings for its gentle beauty and Hymn to Grace because it is such a moving and amazing song. But tomorrow I could just as easily pick another set of favourites if I'm being completely honest. This album really is that good. If, like me, you happen to hear a Roddy Frame song on the radio and wonder how you've missed such a talent til now then buy this album. If you are just cruising round looking to discover a new talent then stop now and buy this. In fact if you just plain love good music and want to have tunes in your head all day at work then look no further. The only thing you'll regret after getting this wonderful album is that you didn't buy it sooner!
This is simply magnificent. From the man who fronted Aztec Camera for many years, and combined with the experience and maturity that those years give, it is one of the best pop/rock albums I have ever heard. From the opening 'back to the one' and continuing all through - some quieter songs, some just as lively - intelligent lyrics are combined with subtle but effective guitar to create a sound that is always relaxed and never strained. Put another way, it all feels so natural it seems it could and should only have been done this way. The album is pleasantly unusual in that it is good on first hearing and then improves. This contrasts well to some which either take several listenings to grow on you slowly (and sometimes never make it!), or are so immediate that they are actually very superficial and lose any impact after the first few plays. It tells you something when the four of us in our household - aged 40, 30, 17 and 18 months - all liked it. If you only buy one album this year, decade, century or millennium make it this one: you won't regret it. As a final thought: I often go visiting local second-hand CD shops but have never seen this - that tells you something.
Whilst this is (unfortunately) unlikely to win Frame many new fans, this is a beautiful and powerful product, containing songs that make the more chart-friendly acts seem positively dull. Poetic in places, powerful in others, with 'Bigger Brighter Better' as the stand out track, this triggers emotions. Frame's passionate voice (a singer in this day and age!) still swoons out, but his fabulous guitar work is sadly missing in some places. However, 'Back To The One' and 'Reason For Living' shine just as well as the eternal 'Somewhere In My Heart'. This is probably the best pop/rock album of the last two years.
There's a clean crispness to this album; from the sudden strumming of "Back To The One" to the quiet melancholy of "Hymn To Grace". Throughout the whole record there's no jamming or instrumental self-indulgence just songs - tight, compact and straight to the point. Standout tracks for me are "Back To The One", which surges forwards with guitar based somersaults. "Strings" is a delicate ballad that feels simple and pure. "Bigger, Brighter, Better" shines with its irresistible strumming and self-believing lyrics. "Autumn Flower" begins with a piano then carries on with a hypnotic bass line. "Reason For Living" lifts off with the opening bars of Springsteen's "Born To Run" before driving towards a climatic chorus and, finally, "Hymn To Grace" closes the album with the now familiar acoustic farewell. A gentle tune carried along by Roddy's excellent voice. If you're a fan or just curious then don't be shy, go ahead and buy.
Roddy may have been around a while now but he certainly hasn't lost his touch. Back to the One and The North Star are as good as anything has has written and tug at the heartstrings of anyone who recognises a beautifully constructed and delivered song. Again though, Roddy hits the spots which other writers don't even get close to - his grasp of beautiful words, imagery, metre, alliteration and all of those linguistic tricks which set apart all great songs are second to none. Buy this recording and discover for yourself how beautiful words can be....keep the faith Roddy!
Aztec Camera always felt like Roddy Frame was letting his mates along for the ride, so when he decided to go 'solo' it was just a case of tippexing out the old band name and sticking his on. The result is his best ever album. The songs are focused and tight and full of energy, almost a complete opposite of latter day AC albums meandering down tempo feel. The melodies are among the best he's ever done and his vocals are on fine form. If you've ever liked any Aztec Camera then this will the best album of theirs you'll own. Enjoy.
One of the finest albums of recent years without a doubt. It has so many hooks and beautifully polished songs. Highlights for me have to be the title track, Bigger brighter better, Sister shadow and Back to the one, but there really isn't one track on the album that is other than superb. If there were any justice in the world, Roddy would be one of the biggest stars in Britain.
I got this album as a gift for someone as they loved Hymn To Grace and I must say having heard the song myself now, I love it too. Such a beautiful song and the album on the whole is really good. Not having really heard much of Roddy before, I will definitely be buying and listening to more of his stuff but I just dont think it will get better than Hymn. When you listen to this song, you'll be gutted you hadnt heard it before. I cant recommend it highly enough. Buy this album, you will not be disappointed.