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Oceansize - Frames CD (album) cover

FRAMES

Oceansize

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.00 | 247 ratings

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The Progmatist
4 stars What an album! For me, this is the one where OCEANSIZE manages to finally put it all together. Sure, EFFLORESCE was a great one. But personally, that debut was burdened by the same problems I found in EVERYONE INTO POSITION: a few great songs sprinkled among other solid but forgettable tracks. But I can honestly say that FRAMES packs more much punch pound for pound than many albums I've heard in a long time. You may recognize that this is gonna be a great one in the first ten seconds of the album: beautifully alternating (piano and guitar?) notes creating a perfectly produced moody backdrop before the electronic effects and skillful drumming join the mix to create a calming yet exhilarating three-minute intro. And things only get better when Vennart's throaty but subdued vocals add a whole new layer to the mix. This song is Oceansize in peak form. And it only begins the album.

In typical-but-not-yet-tired Oceansize fashion, the atmospheric opener leads into a more edgy second track, here entitled Unfamiliar. And while the style of the second track will not exactly be unfamiliar to fans of the band, it is sure to please them. Unfamiliar alternates between perfectly accomplished hard- edged rock, mellow atmospherics, bright instrumentalism, and passionate vocal wailings. In many ways it's a perfect showcase for the rest of the album.

Trail of Fire calms things down a bit (well, at least the first few minutes), giving Vennart a chance to show off some truly great vocals and the musicians to demonstrate a unique gelling that must have only come from messing around in a basement on a Wednesday afternoon: an EXPLOSIONS-IN-THE- SKY-esque guitar mingling backed by well-placed piano.

In many ways, though, the 10 minute instrumental An Old Friend of the Christy's is the peak accomplishment of this great work. Although this is certainly not the first time the band has inserted a moody instrumental in the middle of an album, the style here seems to lean more toward the grand than the subdued explorations of the mid-album pieces in the last two releases. Showing that they are willing to take time to genuinely explore a musical theme, the band begins this track with organ followed by dark guitar plucking backed by ominously played drums. Almost something out of an AGALLOCH album: brooding, always ready to strike. Except then come the strings at around the three- minute mark. Starting low, then building up as the guitar playing becomes just a little brighter. Then, after the other instruments fade away to leave you with that ominous drum chant, the song explodes into a fury of blazing drums and roaring guitars pierced only made more powerful by strings that pierce on all the right beats. A masterpiece.

This one's got it all for the modern prog fan who appreciates edgy music with a melodic bottom. One of the best of 2007 (and 2008 so far).

The Progmatist | 4/5 |

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