Thursday, November 02, 2006


ALBUM: Western Skies
FILE UNDER: Folk Rock / Acoustic / Experimental
INFO: When he was still in his teens, Roddy Frame was already being compared to Elvis Costello, generally considered by critics to be one of the finest songwriters of all time. Such grand praise could place unreasonable expectations on a developing young talent and crush the creativity blooming within. However, Frame has been able to let his songwriting abilities evolve without any consideration given to the critics or commercial radio. Frame began his career with Aztec Camera in January 1980. As Aztec Camera's vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter, Frame immediately became the darling of the U.K. music press with the band's 1983 debut, High Land, Hard Rain. On tracks like "Walk Out to Winter" and "Back on Board," Frame sang poetic lyrics about love lost and found, two themes he'd revisit with an increasingly mature outlook through a number of albums. True to his punk roots, Frame abandoned Aztec Camera's jangle pop sound when it became fashionable among British new wave acts. From country to soul, Frame utilized the Aztec Camera moniker to pay homage to his influences. Indifferent to the hip tastes of his followers, Frame covered Cyndi Lauper's Top Ten ballad "True Colors" with undeniable sincerity and transformed Van Halen's heavy metal anthem "Jump" into a folksy love song. After 1995's Frestonia, Frame jettisoned the Aztec Camera name and released The North Star in 1998. The album received critical praise and this time he wasn't compared to Costello.
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