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!
I am a huge fan of Roddy Frame. Bias apart, I have played this on many occasions when friends or family visit and they always ask, "WHO'S this?" This is, as many reviewers have said, a perfect album. Only a few songs over the years of life give the individual actual goosebumps. It happens on tracks from this album. I'd recommend this all day long. Actually, whilst I'm writing this, I'm thinking "I'd love to own this in vinyl". I'm off to look!
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.
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.
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!