Album review: PJ FARLEY – Boutique Sound Frames

PJ FARLEY - Boutique Sound Frames

Melodic Rock Records [Release Date 20.05.16]

Hot on the heels of Trixter’s acclaimed ‘Human Era’ album which was one of 2015’s unexpected treats, bassist PJ Farley has released his debut album,  although judging from an album cover in which his tattooed arm is perched on a chin with head invisible, anonymity is something he prefers.

Solo albums should be seen as a way of revealing the real artist behind a band member and sure enough the music is different from Trixter’s upbeat anthems, although in its own way no less melodic. The songs have been written over a decade- during which he played with modern rockers Ra during Trixter’s long hiatus- and reflect more personal issues.

‘Take it Straight’ sets the tone with a dark riff and an alternative rock feel, though both  ‘You’d Stick Out’ and ‘Sucker Punch’ have strong choruses which in the hands of 3 Doors Down or Daughtry would generate US radio play.

The main difference is in his voice which is rich, moody and has a melancholic feel.  While he plays most of the instruments, bandmate Steve Brown chips in on a few songs and his slide guitar solos on ‘The Fallen’ and ‘The Afterglow’ are very Harrison-esque and add a more commercial sheen to lighten the darkness, while closer ‘What Do You Do’ reminded me of Steve’s own early 2000’s power pop project 40 Ft Ringo.

There are a variety of styles from the alternative sounds of ‘Things We Hold Onto’, the almost garage rock ‘Ain’t No Good’ and ‘Vow’, whose jangliness reminded me of the Gin Blossoms. However my biggest criticism is that the album is rather mid tempo throughout and could do with more changes of pace.

While not an essential purchase, this is a quality piece of work in its own right of alternative rock with a melodic twist. Ironically Trixter fans may not be those it will appeal to most.  *** 3/4

Review by Andy Nathan

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