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World Gone Wild

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Album Review

On the front cover of Charlie Farren's second solo album away from Farrenheit, the singer/guitarist takes a pair of scissors to locks of his hair above the left eye. The image of being his own barber has lots in common with this project, where he has Bob Enik on lead guitar for one song only. That song, "Get a Life," sounds like the singer is saying "Caroline" for the hook (it's the title "Get a Life"), a cool rock & roll jaunt where the listener has to turn the focus up. In this world that Dave Davies of the Kinks notes is a music industry where you "do it yourself," Farren takes that sentiment to heart and remains an enigma — a stadium rocker with tons of talent who never charted on the Top 40. Farren takes the R&B/folk sound of 1999's Deja Blue, the Color of Love and adds another dimension to it; the rhythmic, '50s-style punch of "Older Girls" is a stark contrast to "You Are the Only One," where the singer performs his tender melody. As the solo McCartney disc was a solitary vision, there is only one flavor here; like a writer steeped in an autobiography, Farren re-emphasizes the sentiment of the previous tune with its instant sequel, "Soul Mate." It is soulful, as is "Afraid to Fly Away," which concludes the ten-song CD. These are among Charlie Farren's best poems ever, and though the lyrics in the booklet do not correspond with the tracking on the disc and the tray card, the songs fall into place perfectly. "Reopened" is the real introspection hinted at on some of the other essays, while the title song, "World Gone Wild," would have been a nice hard rock explosion for the Joe Perry Project. As Aerosmith keeps their money train rolling, the clever ideas which brought them to the attention of the world have been traded in for commercial slickness. Farren has no such restrictions, and three years after his initial 12-song work he transfers the rhythm & blues acoustics of the previous outing to a more polished pop. Deja Blue's "Crazy Moon" finds itself embellished and reinvented for "October Moon" here, while where before he was "Resurrected," now Farren is "Reopened." There are certainly parallels between the two discs; that will happen when the same artist makes another recording writing all the material and playing all the instruments, and maybe fans would have appreciated three or four of the tracks exploding with a full band to give the album more color. The heights Charlie Farren achieves when pushed by other artists — his outstanding vocal performance on Black's "We're Still Standing" is one example — aren't reached when he's speaking with this other voice. "October Moon" and "Drown Me" are low-key adventures, as is "Afraid to Fly Away," all quality work from a master craftsman. Farren's predecessor in the Joe Perry Project, Mach Bell, published a metallic onslaught, Last Man Standing, around the time of World Gone Wild's release, and contemporary Rick Berlin also issued his full-length I Hate Everything but You by the Shelley Winters Project at the exact moment this album was born. All three men were vital components of the '70s Boston music scene and their visions three decades later are worthy statements on tenacity, progression, and pure talent surviving industry pitfalls.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Charlie Farren was born in Whidden Hospital in Everett, MA, on August 27, 1953, to an Irish family. His father was a native of Belfast and came to the U.S. as a child of nine in 1927 via Ellis Island in New York City. Farren told the All Media Guide: "Everyone in my family would sing in full voice without hesitation. I later was surprised to learn that people were generally shy to sing out. My dad had a Sears Silvertone guitar that I still share with my three sisters...he was the first one to inspire...
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