Review Summary: Despite some inconsistent vocals, Frames is an impressive combination of progressive rock and post rock.
When it comes to genre fusion the combination of progressive rock and post rock seem to be made for each other. Combining these two genres opens up a whole new world of what music can accomplish. If done right it's capable of creating an intense mood filled with endless little nuances and an incredible larger than life vibe. Oceansize accomplishes just this and they do so with stunning musicianship and a number of unbelievable build ups. It's mature, evocative and without a doubt possesses an overwhelming amount of confidence. It may come off as a bit overlong and pretentious at times, but this happens to be one of the few cases where a band uses pretention to their advantage.
Take album highlight "An Old Friend Of The Christies" for example. Instead of placing a strong emphasis on an explosive climax, it places an emphasis on the incredibly slow burning rise and fall rather than the cresendo which is actually quite short. Driven by ominous and brooding drums and chilling yet gentle guitar riffs, this song proves to be unbelievable due to the evocative and disturbing nature of the rise and fall. Sure some could call "Christies" pretentious, indulgent and overlong. Even though this may be true, this is one of the few aspects where a band makes fantastic use of those often hates traits because the ten minute length of the song really keeps the listener guessing what's going to happen next. "Commemorative 9/11 T-Shirt" utilizes these traits, but in a different manner through a repetitious paino and guitar melody. It takes over three minutes for the piano and guitar to build into the stirring vocals, but the second half features a variety of creative guitar riffs and this is enough even for those who hate repetiton to admire the band's musicianship.
Unfortunately these stirring vocals really bog the experience down a bit at points. In songs like "Commemorative 9/11 T-Shirt" Mike Vennart really adds to the mood, but the effect on his voice the band used in attempt to give his voice an atmospheric feel actually manages to make it sound really mundane in some songs like "Only Twin" and "Sleeping Dogs And Dead Lions." It's also fair to say that his screamed vocals in "Sleeping Dogs And Dead Lions" are absolutely laughable. While the music itself actually manages to thrill with its awesome bassline and guitar riffs, the vocals really bring it down. His vocals in "Only Twin are incredibly boring along with the album's worst lyrics. However, he's also capable delivering a great performance like in "Savant." The song is so larger than life and so rich in atmospheric elements that his vocal effects add a compelling mood. Despite the inconsistency in Vennart's vocals, the music is where Frames
really excels. "Savant's" engrossing climatic strings, soaring vocals, and great guitar work are also another example of the band's musicianship.
delivers in providing a brilliant atmosphere filled with plenty of fantastic post rock builds, complex time signatures and great musicianship. Though the pretentious and overlong nature of the album may be tough to swallow for some, it has way too many merits to get wrapped up in these aspects. The vocals also bring it down in a couple of songs, but the music saves these songs from being a total drag. Frames
really sells the case about how progressive rock and post rock are indeed made for each other.