Roddy Frame - Western Skies

Since dropping the nom de guerre of Aztec Camera, this is Roddy Frame's third solo album. It is the follow up to 2002's Surf, an album that featured just Frame's voice and acoustic guitar. Western Skies has a similar feel to Surf, songs more about relationships ending than beginning, but has some added instrumentation, mainly drums and percussion played by the album's producer, Jeremy Stacey.

The title track opens the album. It is a slowed down, acoustic remake of a song which appears on the Lazyboy (aka Radio 1's Rob Da Bank) album, Penguin Rock. After hearing it played on Frame's guitar it is difficult to imagine it in its original chill-out electronica version.

This album shows that Frame's lyric writing is still a match for his virtuoso guitar playing. For example, Portastudio's "I'm so vain/ thought this song was about me"; Marble Arch's "I hear a sad guitar and decide I'm undecided" and Worlds in Worlds' "I've wiped my phone and I've grown my hair/And thrown away the stuff that we used to share".

To promote the album Frame is doing his longest tour since his Aztec Camera days. On a recent appearance on Gidean Coe's BBC 6 Music show he said that he enjoyed these solo shows but that he was now itching to get in front of a full band and make a big noise. For now, though, Frame's fans, can enjoy these eleven new, gentle, melancholy tunes.

Overall

6

out of 10

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