Review Summary: A good album by a band who should have got more attention.
Single Frame is a band that I know very little about outside of the small amount of information available online. The thing that becomes apparent about them is that they care less about singular songs, instead opting to make one artistic statement with each album. The songs are typically short and joined by skits to help link everything together in order to create a somewhat cohesive yet succinct statement. Their second album, “Body/End/Basement,” was an album I found in the clearance section of a local record store for a dollar that vastly exceeded my expectations.
"I’ll Lose Your Balance" is the most immediate song on the whole album. It’s a song defined by steady drumming, haunting vocals and a piano melody that fits everything together. The song builds tension to an ending that sounds like all the previously mentioned instruments crashing into the ground and being incinerated. While this occurs, the guitar becomes more apparent by complementing the mayhem with a wall of droning feedback. The rest of the album relies more on electronics elements yet the drums are always a key element. They propel the songs forward and help some of the more meandering spots of the album become entertaining. "Exact Copy of This in the Basement" is an oddly catchy moment, displaying synths reminiscent to the ones that defined the careers of many obscure pop groups that sprouted up in the 1980’s. In addition to some guitars that could have also fit in during that previously mentioned era and some of the albums better lyrical moments make the song a highlight. "Digital Witness" is slower, again maintaining an 80’s vibe by riding a chill synth line and is again defined by the drumming making the song one of the better moments on the album. "Facts About Doors" is a strange and abrupt song where the vocals are made more prominent. The song is an odd mix of synth rock and punk that comes off surprisingly well as the vocalist mocks white bourgeoisie culture. The album ends with "Make Yourself" which is strikingly different than the rest of the material in length while giving the album a fitting conclusion. The song is a more fully realized version of Single Frames core sound and gives a promising hint of what might have followed on future albums that unfortunately never materialized.
"People are Germs" is short repetitive and energetic. The songs simple structure of shouts and a driving beat cause it to be trapped in your head for weeks (for better or worse) even with its short runtime of 1:28. "Slum Pioneer" is an odd spoken word/rap song that isn’t necessarily bad but comes off as awkward and interrupts the albums flow. There is also the issue or the benefit of the skits. While they do give the album a certain atmosphere there is always the lingering impression that if they were expanded on the album may have been more cohesive. This is something that may have made the album more immediate if not better overall.
Despite some of its awkward moments, the album is something that is worth revisiting or looking into. Single Frame as a consequence of the their short career and the label they were signed to that mostly is known for their hardcore and punk groups will probably slip through the cracks of history. On “Body/End/Basement” they were a band that showed promise who unfortunately never reached the ears of the people that would have appreciated their music the most.