Maybe I should just move along.
The Frames - Sideways Down - There's an old Jewish tradition that says the 10 days between Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur - between the new year, and the day of atonement, should be spent reflecting on the year past. It's a time to remember past lapses, to forgive old grievances, repair burnt bridges, and to apologize. So, it seems fitting to kick off my posting during that week with a few tracks from the Frames new album, Burn the Maps, released last week. The Frames have long been known for their dynamic sound, quiet and intimate one moment, and bombastic the next. On Burn The Maps they've compressed those tendencies down to single tracks. The song opens with echoes of a distant bassline, vocals front and center. Slowly a beat comes in, filtered, it almost sounds like the intro of some weird, acoustic take on IDM. And then, the musicians come into the same room. The instrumentals move front and center as Glen Hansard sings about how "everybody fucks up, it's just something thats been going 'round." When the song explodes into the mid point of the Frames range, and the strings come in, the sense of longing, of regret - the desire to set things right shines through - even if it means leaving the past, and leaving love behind.
The Frames - Finally - Finally shows the Frames in a full on assault mode, revealing why they may be Irelands best kept secret at the moment. With string arrangements giving the song a delicacy as it opens, and then tightening, enclosing, the song picks up a martial quality. The song is a challenge and a scream, and when the song breaks, a bit before the two minute mark, there's real pain there - you can feel the anger over mistakes made, over grievances that cannot be undone. And the strings come front and center, and it's just beautiful.
The Frames - Fake - I would be remiss if I didn't include "Fake". The song is the perfect merging of the sides of the Frames sound, half Spectorized symphony, half stripped down, lo-fi rage. The dynamics of this song careen between resignation and the most vicious bitterness possible. The song opens in full on guitar attack mode, but quickly quiets down to just vocal and acoustic - resigned and weary, but with hints of a bubbling rage in the guitar work. And then, the words that set Glen off "you're telling me I should forget you..." And the song explodes with rage at this new man. The bitterness and the jealousy shine through, and as the song bounces between it's extremes, we see the Frames slowly finding a middle ground... never quite accepting, but the rage cooled, the process of falling apart and finding the pieces all over again.
[Buy Frames tracks from the Itunes Music Store, or buy Burn the Maps from Road Records!]