"Life Begins Again" (Sanctuary; 2005)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Aside from the impressive catalogs of Soundgarden and Screaming Trees, the band Smashing Pumpkins made one of the more impressive records of the 'grunge' era – and that record was "Gish." With anything Smashing Pumpkins, the focus was clearly on Billy Corgan – but Corgan had some very talented bandmates who deserve a lot of credit for maintaining the Pumpkins’ sound. The drummer backing up Corgan most of those years was, in fact, Jimmy Chamberlin, who is the namesake for this project.

Once I held "Life Begins Again" in my hands I began to wonder what a record from Jimmy Chamberlin would actually sound like. Would it sound like Smashing Pumpkins? Would it be all percussion with little or none of the traditional instruments that make up rock, hard rock, and heavy metal?. Or would it be weird?

"Life Begins Again" is a little bit of everything. There are five instrumentals and five tracks with vocals. There are some jazzy moments ("Streetcrawler," "Owed To Daryl," and "Time Shift"), some alt-rock moments ("Loki Cat," "Love Is Real," "Newerwaves," and the title track), a rock hard tour de force ("Cranes Of Prey"), and some out-of-this-world prog-jazz moments ("P.S.A."). The last remaining track is "Lullaby For Children" and it's the kind of track that would drive my good friend and Rough Edge colleague Snidermann completely bonkers (not in a good way, mind you) at which point he would run screaming wishing he was on fire because it would be less painful.

The title of the disc is interesting as I recall Mr. Chamberlin entering a drug rehab center more than once; but I hear he’s clean now and perhaps the title reflects a newfound lease on life. A quick read of the lyric sheet and comprehension of the vocal tone implies that Mr. Chamberlin is grateful for his life after drugs.

The three chainsaw rating should be taken with a grain of salt. The very jazzy, alt-rock flavor of “Life Begins Again” is not typical fare for nearly all Rough Edge readers.

"Life Begins Again" was produced by Jimmy Chamberlain and Billy Mohler.

Jimmy Chamberlain Project: Jimmy Chamberlain on drums, Billy Mohler on bass, keyboards, and guitar, Sean Woolstenhulme on guitar, and Adam Benjamin on Fender Rhodes piano. Vocal contributors include Billy Corgan, Bill Medley, Rob Dickinson, and Linda Strawberry. Paul Chamberlin contributes drums, Corey Wilton provides additional guitar work.

For more information visit http://www.jimmychamberlincomplex.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 29 Sep 2023 01:09:33 -0400.