Review Summary: Why are you wearing that stupid Frameworks suit?
Donnie Darko is far from my favorite movie, but this record reminds me of it. Specifically while watching the music video for “Purge”, I felt as if I had been plunged into the same dystopian suburbia that housed Frank the rabbit. As I watched frontman Luke Pate calmly scream into the microphone, making the feat appear effortless, the glitchy VHS style footage switched over to a shot of a cheerleader jumping into the air in her living room. Something about the lighting made the reality of it look thin. There was an unsettling quality about the way the overly bright sun shined through the window, washing the girl in white light. The scene changes again. The glittery guitar parts that overlay the impassioned vocals seem to contradict that footage of TV dinners being microwaved.
The unreality of “Purge” hangs in the air like a fog throughout Frameworks’ second record, Smother. Conveniently, the harsh vocals manage to cut through the daydream and bite back with dignity. Punk anthem “Fear of Missing Out” is the perfect introduction to the album, with a traditional approach reminiscent of older hardcore bands. Frameworks puts forth their strongest instrumental work as a band, with incredible guitar/bass parts that can be equally beautiful and positive as they are crushing. Some of these songs almost sound happy despite their heavier, riff-laden qualities. The “heavy sound” cliché’s are missing from this band, even more so on Smother in comparison to 2014’s “Loom”. Frameworks trade overused dissonance for a combination sound of dreamy textures and classic punk.
It’s refreshing to hear songs like “Peculiar People”, “Purge”, and “Tangled“ sound like triumphs when they could have easily been taken in a more somber direction. That being said, other tracks like “Song of Myself” and “Tinnitus” satisfy the band’s darker side. Evil guitars phasing with effects and chaotic drumming join together for a three-minute atmospheric screamo joyride.
As the “The New Narcissistic American Dream” fades out, my sense of displacement ceases, and I’m back in my own reality. No VHS suburbia, no cheerleaders, and no Frank the rabbit.
Fav Tracks: Fear of Missing Out, Peculiar People, Purge, Song of Myself