Jimmy Chamberlin: Jimmy Chamberlin (drums); Sean Woolstenhulme (guitar); Adam Benjamin (Fender Rhodes piano); Billy Mohler (bass guitar).
Additional personnel: Rob Dickinson, Bill Medley, Billy Corgan (vocals); Corey Wilton (guitar); Paul Chamberlin (drums); Linda Strawberry (background vocals).
Fans of the Smashing Pumpkins are already familiar with Jimmy Chamberlin's formidable skills, and those who've listened closely know the drummer's arsenal of tricks contains much more than average hard-rock chops. In fact, Chamberlin was trained as a jazz drummer, a foundation that shows in the inventiveness and facility of his stickwork. LIFE BEGINS AGAIN is the debut by the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, a style-synthesizing collective that, like the leader's drumming, combines jazz, pop, experimental, and hard rock into an appealing, muscular fusion.
Multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler, guitarist Sean Woolstenhulme, and keyboardist Adam Benjamin lend distinctive textures to these varied compositions. Highlights include the post-rock-tinged instrumental opener "Streetcrawler, and the rolling, dreamy "Loki Cat" (featuring a guest vocal from Chamberlin's former bandmate Billy Corgan). These songs contrast with the post-bop workout "Owed to Darryl" and the shoegazer sheen of "Newerwaves." Other guest vocalists, including Catherine Wheel frontman Rob Dickinson and Righteous Brother Bill Medley, flesh out the heavy-yet-nuanced sonic melange here. Chamberlin's busy, progressive drumming is front and center throughout, so that LIFE BEGINS AGAIN is a treat for drum fiends as well as experimental-rock enthusiasts.
Rolling Stone (No. 967, pp.81-2) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[Chamberlin's drumming skills] are the starring attractions here..."
Uncut (p.92) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[Chamberlin's] jazz chops align the Complex with Chicago's avant-jazz and post-rock scenes."
Magnet (p.87) - "The strongest tracks on LIFE BEGINS AGAIN are the instrumental, which meld sonic polish and woozy shoegaze distortion, with Chamberlain occasionally offering a peek at his depth by flirting with free jazz."