Dweezil Zappa

Return of the Son Of...

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Having apparently given up on the idea of having a solo career outside his father's shadow, Dweezil Zappa has taken to touring with a project he calls Zappa Plays Zappa, which is exactly what it sounds like: an evening of Frank Zappa music, played by his son and a band of talented if relatively faceless pros. From a purely musical standpoint, this stuff is excellent; Zappa junior is a ferocious guitarist, and he and the band know the material inside and out. There's also another tie to the prior generation, given that vocalist Ray White (who worked with Frank for years) sings on most tracks here. The songs mostly span the '70s and '80s, including "Broken Hearts Are for Assholes," "King Kong," "The Torture Never Stops," and "Montana," among others. When the band is doing instrumental material, Return of the Son Of… is excellent, because the music is complex and fascinating, and they play it very, very well, Dweezil Zappa in particular. It's the vocal numbers that drag the disc down, because Zappa senior, as a lyricist, was far too willing to wallow in juvenile scatology and/or sociopolitical ramblings that weren't nearly as interesting or iconoclastic as he thought. But that stuff is a relatively small segment of what's here, so even non-Zappa cultists can find plenty to enjoy on this double disc.

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