Album review: Via Zammata’ proves that at 46 Dweezil Zappa’ has aged wisely

Dweezil Zappa’s new album is top-heavy with the influence of his late, great father, Frank, and bottom-loaded with harmony-­drenched pop songs.

Via Zammata by Dweezil Zappa. Fantom Records via AP
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Via Zammata’

Dweezil Zappa

(Fantom Records)

Three stars

Dweezil Zappa’s new album is top-heavy with the influence of his late, great father, Frank, and bottom-loaded with harmony-­drenched pop songs.

Dweezil has been performing his dad's music for years, but on Via Zammata' – the Sicilian street his family emigrated from – the paternal effect only goes so far.

The elder Zappa would have smiled at the distorted arrangements provided for his clichéd heavy metal-lyrics on Dragon Master, the only song co-written by father and son.

On Malkovich, Dweezil sets up actor John Malkovich by letting him read a classic philosophical text, before asking him what the heck he's talking about. Both say yes to Frank's question of: "Does humour belong in music?"

Rat Race comes with a rockabilly beat and an organ sound close to Del Shannon's Runaway, while opening instrumental Funky 15 reflects Frank's progressive rock tendencies.

The rest of the 12 tracks range from Posies-like power pop to lounge music and the Tijuana Brass.

On Jaws of Life, Dweezil says: "You were probably smarter when you were a kid."

Via Zammata' proves that at 46, he has aged wisely.

artslife@thenational.ae