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Oceansize - Frames CD (album) cover

FRAMES

Oceansize

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.03 | 309 ratings

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TCat
5 stars Oceansize's 3rd full length album is another amazing journey into some of the best new progressive rock and they continue to be a band that proves that progressive rock is alive and well and still has a lot of territory to explore. Even though it is considered psychedelic/space rock here in the Archives, this album leans more towards the post rock/heavy prog sound. This one is a bit heavier than "Everyone Into Position" was. Oceansize wanted to make an album that didn't have any radio friendly songs on it whatsoever, and that is what they have accomplished. There is less melody than the previous album and a lot more exploration, even though that album was still a masterpiece. But this one is amazing also. Borrowing more from post rock, this takes that genre beyond it's own borders and mostly ignores any rules.

There is definitely a good enough variety here to keep things interesting, but the album is also more structured to a specific sound. Full of complexity, the meters are very difficult technically, yet there is so much emotion in their music as there always is. They definitely accomplish the goals of so many post-rock bands that try to achieve an orchestral sound with rock instruments, especially with dense guitars and long crescendos. Oceansize doesn't always follow that formula here keeping things surprising and fresh throughout. The closest thing to post-rock formulation is "Trial of Fire" which builds into an amazing climax that puts many of those bands to shame. And that orchestral sound is accomplished so well as you get in that symphonic like ending. "Savant" is probably the least interesting track, at least at the start, but it develops as it goes and finally floats into a lush 2nd half that approaches a psychedelic leaning, albeit vaguely as strings enter and give this song a beautiful way to cap itself off.

"Only Twin" is a definite stand out. Extremely complex, yet a softer sound that still holds a lot of tension building, but not in the form of dynamics as much as in atmosphere. I love this track and think it is one of the most original tracks in new progressive rock. Stunningly beautiful, yet not in the way you would expect it to be. When I say it's a softer sound, that is only in comparison with the rest of the tracks that come before it. No, it's not mellow at all, just softer.

The excellent complexity of the album continues through each track. There is only one instrumental on the album which is "An Old Friend of the Christy's" which holds a lot of mood changes and character as any other song on the album. "Sleeping Dogs and Dead Lions" is the shortest track here and it clocks in at over 6 minutes, but it packs a solid punch as it is also the heaviest and loudest song here, with vocals approaching screaming, but never in an obnoxious way, more in an emotional way. The last track "Frames" slacks off in the noise factor a bit, but still carries it's weight. Even though it ends the album in a satisfying way, you need to search out the special edition of this album that has the bonus track "Vorhees" which in itself is over 11 minutes (a bonus track over 11 minutes you say?). There are many that compare Oceansize to Tool, which I don't agree with because they have their own sound, but if there is a track that sound the most similar to Tool, it would be this bonus track, even the crazy dissonant guitar solo that also uses keyboards to push it forward to even more of an extreme. Definitely as great as any of the regular tracks on the album and worth searching for.

It is so hard for me at this point in Oceansize's discography to find an album that is not a masterpiece. Everything they have released up until now has been some of the best progressive rock that I have heard and each album has been amazing. There is never a lack of complexity, excellent dynamism, originality, challenging and genre stretching progressive rock in their music and I continue to recommend this band highly. Consistently excellent and once again, another masterpiece of progressive rock music. 5 solid stars.

TCat | 5/5 |

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