P.J. FARLEY – Boutique Sound Frames (2016)
Released by Melodic Rock Records, “Boutique Sound Frames” is the debut solo album by Trixter bass player P.J. FARLEY, who dives into eleven modern melodic rock tracks guaranteed to stay on high rotation on your player.
Best known as Trixter member, where P.J. has manned the bass guitar position since the band’s debut in 1990, sure he hasn’t been one to sit around in between Trixter stints. With the band RA, he’s released nigh on 8 albums, throw in the mighty 40Ft Ringo project with Trixter guitarist Steve Brown, 4 years touring with Lita Ford, plus numerous other musical adventures.
With over a decade of writing songs that just didn’t quite fit elsewhere, “Boutique Sound Frames” see PJ’s first foray as a solo artist. A self assured collection of tracks that truly rewards those who let their understated melodies grab hold.
The heavy groove and dirty riff of quirky album opener ‘Take It Straight’ sets an ominous warning for those anticipating PJ to hit them with anthem after anthem in the manner that Trixter are so renowned.
This is not what this album is about, and in all honesty where would the fun be in that? No, this is an album that will sit nicely in my collection amongst the likes of Kip Winger solo, Nuno Bettencourt, Mike Tramp and Ryan Roxie who’ve all proven themselves as solo artists, far removed from the “comfort” of what they’re best known.
With the album written over a period of 10 years, ‘You’d Stick Out’ immediately transported me back to the early to mid 2000’s when that fine blend of modern understated anthemic rock ruled, in fact this is not too dissimilar to fellow bandmate Steve Brown’s Stereo Fallout.
Tempo wise, the album keeps a pretty constant mid pace throughout, but little jolts such as the Cheap Trick power pop tinged ‘Ain’t No Good’ take things up a notch.
In ‘Suckerpunch’, PJ delivers one of my favourite tracks on the album, mighty infectious in an understated way. Very similar to the likes of a Lifehouse or Harem Sacrem’s Pete Lesperance solo works, who’ve got that sound nailed.
‘The Fallen’ sees Trixter alumni Mike Luciano guest on drums, with also Trixter’s Steve Brown providing some tasty lead guitar, who also does another ripping solo on ‘Vow’, another standout track for me with a nice twang all over.
Don’t you just love discovering a different musical side to someone who’s been such a big part of your music upbringing for over 30 years? Well, P.J. Farley didt it in “Boutique Sound Frames”, a perfect statement from a man equally as worthy of your attention as singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, as he is the bass player of Trixter.
On his debut solo album, Farley does something which I don’t think many artists from the melodic hard rock / hair band era get to do. I think PJ has actually jumped genres here, always revolving around the classic ’80 / ’90s melodies but with a modern approach.
It will certainly satisfy past fans as well as win many new ones.
01 – Take It Straight
02 – You’d Stick Out
03 – Things We Hold Onto
04 – Ain’t No Good
05 – Suckerpunch
06 – The Fallen
07 – Keepin It All Together
08 – A Place In The Sun
09 – Vow
10 – The Afterglow
11 – What You Do
P.J. Farley – Vocals, Bass, Guitars, Drums
with Trixter bandmates contribution:
Steve Brown – Guitar solos on 6, 7, 10, 11, Backing Vocals
Mike Luciano – Drums on 6