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Oceansize - Frames CD (album) cover

FRAMES

Oceansize

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.04 | 317 ratings

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The Rain Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Many say an artist's third album will either make or break them and basically decide their longevity. Well step up to the plate..Oceansize with their 3rd album 'Frames'. With a line up change due to personal circumstances which saw Steven Hodson coming in as the new bassist; I expected 'Frames' to unlock a new door in terms of the direction of their sound and it certainly did.

My first impression of Frames was that it was heavier than its predecessors. However after further inspection it became apparent that it is both their heaviest and their mellowest. They have basically taken their sound spectrum and stretched both extremes even further. This is no more apparent than in the track entitled, "Sleeping Dogs and Dead Lions", which is probably one of the heaviest tracks they have ever done and certainly heading into metal in places, the intro in particular reminds me of The Deftones. Then right next door to this track you have album closer 'The Frame' which is your slow moving epic in the same vein as "Ornament/Last Wrongs" from 'Everything into Position'. They are completely different songs but both achieve the same thing which is a great and fitting climax to their respective albums. The beauty of 'The Frame' lies in the simple build up; starting off with a slow a gentle guitar riff and gradually all the other instruments come in one by one. Then Mike Vennart's voice enters with "I can hold you all together". It's such a relaxing while epic song, never in a rush, letting their sound expand till eventually it bursts with a crashing climax.

The best song on the album for me is 'Unfamiliar'. It took me a while to realise that 'Unfamiliar' was a song in its own right because of the seamless link from the first track 'Commemorative 9/11 T-Shirt', I thought it was part of that song until I looked down at my MP3 player when it clicked. Its starts off easy, then it's as if the song swaggers into bar, knowing every other song is looking at it, thinking I wish I was that good. My favourite bit in particular is the very last quiet/loud part where Mike Vennart sings "And all who sail in her" then really explodes into "Saw the seashore, unfamiliar". A great song and one I would definitely recommend if you want to get pumped up for the day.

On the other hand, the worst song on the album is "bonus" track 'Voorhees'. I put the inverted commas round "bonus", because I feel this song ruins the album. The main thing I have got against this song is that it feels so disjointed, as if it is two different songs glued together. It is not a bad song apart from that, but at the same time compared to the rest of the songs on the album I feel it is somewhat sub standard in comparison. Not only this but "The Frame" is for me is the natural album closer and that is how it should finish! A twenty second gap does not make me think "ahhhh that's the end of the album...oh wait there's a bonus track". Instead, it makes me think that after 'The Frame" has finished, "that's it, what a finish to an album...then there's more". It's like when your up for a promotion you deserve to get and you've done everything right then all of a sudden just when the finishing line is in sight you somehow manage to talk yourself out of it. This is exactly what effect 'Voorhees' has on the album.

One of the reasons I feel the bonus track may have been included is to give the fan 'Value for money' by filling the CD which comes in at staggering 77 minutes and 41 seconds. The irony of it is if this was indeed the approach is that if the bonus track was taken out, the CD would still have been 67 minutes long which is still twice as long as your average album. Anyway, on a more positive note, the lengths of the songs are one thing I love about Oceansize, while many bands have songs 3 minutes long. In your average Oceansize song, the song is probably still not reached the chorus in that time. There is never a rush, as the let their ideas flourish and expand naturally as opposed to forced and condensed into 3 minutes. Nothing shows this more than the fact the shortest song on the album 'Unfamiliar' is 6 minutes and 29 seconds. To make this into a single they had to edit over 2 minutes out of the song!

Overall listening to 'Frames' feels like within each song you're going on a journey through different countries and cultures; all within the world of Oceansize. From post rock to epic rock ballads, from metal to Indie rock, it's like a genre hopping extravaganza mastering each impeccably. What excites me about this band even more is a feel there are vast territories with in the world of Oceansize which are still lay undiscovered, even to the band themselves. This is not one of those albums that you will listen to for a month move on to the next band. This album is a slow burner and one which will be on my CD player for many months probably years to come.

The Rain Man | 4/5 |

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