Greasetown: Farrenheit III

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The third installment of the Farrenheit trilogy is as consistent as anything the former lead singer for the Joe Perry Project has released. Greasetown and its predecessor, Raise the Roof, are Charlie Farren's musical statements, post the Warner Brothers debut produced by Keith Olsen, Farrenheit. "Signal in the Noise," track eight, epitomizes what Farren is all about; a voice superior to Eddie Money, Mickey Thomas, Steve Perry, and so many other major stars, the industry still hasn't found a way to get this sound to the masses. Where the aforementioned vocalists all push the tolerance threshold, Charlie Farren's singing style seems to have invented its own mixture of arena rock meets pop. "Seaside Love" has the commanding guitar placed close to Farren's Drifters-meet-Marty Balin melody -- a very hip beach tune, with enough ethereal backing vocals and lead notes to keep it fresh. "Ride 'M Cowboy" is a hard rock version of what Boston's the Jonzun Crew would do with their funk. Charlie Farren was replaced in the Joe Perry Project by Cowboy Mach Bell of Thundertrain, musicians all working the same circuit for the same amount of years, and this seems like a neat nod to Farren's successor. "Stop Talking in Your Sleep" is classic Charlie Farren. This guy is the Ben E. King of the hard rock set, and that is a high compliment indeed. The music inside Greasetown is dramatic, from the heart, and constructed in such a way that passages other artists would make cliché sound magical and new. Charlie Farren's lighter follow-up, the Deja Blue album, is a departure from the forces at play here; Philip Bynoe on bass, Igor Khoroshev on piano, organ, and keys -- they make "Love Street" a song that can only be called adult contemporary metal. Farren's F-Man Music released these albums pretty much simultaneously. That's usually a good way to lose focus on any one particular piece of music. It also indicates a need by the artist to put his art out to the world without marketing concerns. The previous comparison to the Jonzun Crew, though their music is so different, stands. High quality, expertly played, beautifully recorded rock & roll. The music made after the Warner Brothers release is sonically better and free from the restrictions of a major music corporation. "B-Line" is a thumper that some A&R man might pass on, but it's the kind of thing Farren's fans appreciate. The Farrenheit sound is one that stays in the mid-range, hits you in the gut. With some of the bottom of Black Sabbath and the top of Boston -- the band -- Farren's mantra of "Who's Going to Carry You Home" dances with the right balance of melody and punch. Just a really fine recording that lifts the spirit.

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