Thursday, September 14, 2006

Peter Frampton – Fingerprints

Peter Frampton – Fingerprints

Peter Frampton’s new album, Fingerprints fits nicely into place following his last two studio albums; 1994’s Peter Frampton and 2003’s Now. The curveball comes when after the first few measures of Boot It Up, the first track from Fingerprints, you begin to realize there are no vocals. The man responsible for the best selling live album of all time, Frampton Comes Alive, and such legendary songs as Show Me the Way and Do You Feel Like We Do seems to have abandoned the microphone in exchange for his guitar and released the first instrumental album of his career.

Fingerprints is eclectic, carefully crafted, well played and most definitely a Peter Frampton album. Anyone who is familiar with Frampton as an artist can attest to his particular guitar “sound,” made up of his guitar tone and thoroughly influenced by his instrumental technique and musical phrasing. His sound is, just as the name of the album implies, a fingerprint and the longer a musician plays, the more defined that fingerprint becomes…and Peter Frampton has been playing for a long time.

It’s an interesting experience to hear an instrumental album from a musician who is intimately familiar with the workings of writing a song with both music and vocals. The songs on Fingerprints are more about being songs and less about the technique needed to play the instrument. The melody lines played by Frampton’s guitar are much more like vocal passages than your typical instrumental guitar album, which this is not.

The songs, while all identifiable as Frampton, are all unique to each other. Each of the fourteen tracks is a composition unto it self. Fingerprints is not disappointing in it’s variety; you have full on rockers, contemplative acoustic pieces, blues, a little jazz and even a French vignette courtesy of the album’s closer, Souvenirs de Nos Peres.

Some may look at Fingerprints as being a work of self-indulgence, in that Peter Frampton has chosen to only focus on his passion for guitar. However, a different argument could also be made. Fingerprints may just be a small jewel in the vast career that Peter Frampton has had.

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