The Frames are one of those veteran bands who are kings in their own realm but almost unknown beyond its borders. Regularly reaching the top of the album charts in Ireland, the Dublin-based outfit has nevertheless failed to make an international impact.
Perhaps it's the lack of a unique selling point. Cynics might say this is just another generic celtic folk-rock album, where almost every song slow builds to a big anthemic chorus and bungs in a violin solo half-way through. Others might say it wears its influences on its sleeve. "True" is a virtual clone of Radiohead's "Climbing Up The Walls" before it morphs into a weird duet with Hansard's tormented vocals soaring over Czech singer Markéta Irglová's semi-conversational counterpoint. "Falling Slowly" and "Song For Someone" both invite comparisons with Coldplay, though both outclass that undeservedly massive band within half a verse. "People Get Ready", meanwhile, references the hummingbird-at-a-flower guitar work of U2's Edge.
Thing is, envelope-pushing originality only takes you so far, and none of it matters a damn when the songs are this good and performed with this kind of sincerity and fervour. Hansard has obviously been having a rough time in the romantic stakes and the lyrics pull no punches, tearing away at guilt and regret and self-disgust with a desperation which chills "I find it so hard to be true / And all these lies I'm telling you / Are little anchors in my chest / That pull us down into this mess."
Meanwhile the gossamer "Rise" builds into a thing of vicious passion, raising the ghost of Jeff Buckley's "Grace" (in fact, an as-yet-unknown Buckley once roadied for the band and singer Glenn Hansard wrote 1999's "Neath The Beeches" in his memory). And "Bad Bone" is an excoriating look at the "jealousy that's killed every love I've ever known", explored with a sexual honesty matched only, perhaps, by eccentric outsider Will Oldham.
The album sags a little in the middle, with the so-so "When Your Mind's Made Up" and "Sad Songs" failing to live up to the grandeur of the album's first half - or indeed, its closing trio. But peaks and troughs are part of what makes music human - and this is very human music, recorded live and sans overdubs with all the human resonance and random imperfection that implies.
Another bloody good Frames album, in the vein of Burn The Maps.
Read on if you want more...
I guess I am a rare breed, a Frames fan who does not come from Ireland. Admittedly I have "Irish Connections", and that is how i first got to hear The Frames. I have always been tormented by the fact that The Frames are so unknown in the UK - surely they deserved more than that!
I went through a long period of obsessive fan-dom leading up to the release of Burn The Maps. I was certain BTM would finally give the band the recognition they finally deserved in the UK. Predictably this didnt happen. I eventually ended up drifting away from The Frames, my albums overplayed, too many gigs attended, my friends bored sick of me trying to convert them.
Then comes The Cost. And with it a revelation. The band obviously make their albums very much for themselves. No stadium rock anthems on this album, no instant radio hits. And you know what? Good on them. This is an intensley personal album, Glen Hansard sounds like he's been having a tough time since BTM in his personal life. This comes across very clearly in The Cost. Thats not to say the album is depressing, yet again its full of beautiful songs, with a realistic yet uplifting vibe to it.
Now im back listening to the Frames, but now im doing it for myself and enjoying their music once again. If youre a fan you will LOVE this album, like all the others.
And for those who have never heard of The Frames, its your loss - honestly, it really is. But i will not be prosletysing to all and sundry any more.
'Discovered' Glen Hansard by accident when I saw 'Once' and now I am a big fan. I usually don't go back to buy old albums, but thought I'd try this one. Almost a restrained, yet marvelous album. Tracks 1. Song for Someone - powerful song, where Glen's voice is strong, but controlled 2. Falling Slowly - that wonderful song also featured in Once 3. People Get Ready - slower tempo 4. Rise - another slower song 5. When Your Mind's Made Up - also featured in Once as a duet with Marketa 6. Sad Songs - up tempo 7. The Cost - title track, down temp 8. True 9. The Side You Nevr get to See 1o. Bad Bone
At it's best on tracks on stripped down tracks like Bad Bone, and the Cost with their breathy vocals. At it's worst on the intro of People Get Ready: an uncharacteristic 30s of Coldplay pastiche which ruins an elsewise solid track. Every one is allowed one small mistake: copy every thing but that one track to your MP3 and your think it a great album.
I first saw a YouTube Video of one of the songs by accident and soon got hooked to it. It went under my skin! this album reminded me on the group Coldplay when it was still good and not so commercialized. It's honest and real music. Now I tell all my friends in Germany about this fabulous group and album! :-)
I love The Frames....and for the life of me cannot comphrehend why they are not well-known in the main stream....haunting,emotional songs of life....great lyrics...superb musicians...they have it all...yet seem to be ignored my major music critics...thought this CD was even more intense than BTM....and Live Set remains one of the finest live albums I have ever heard...wish these guys some good fortune...they sure deserve it...
U want great songs, melodies and lyrics! Here they all are. This one is another winner from a fine Irish band who keep delivering the goods. Standouts are 'Song for Someone'(Sweeping),'People get ready'(funky fiddling ago-go) 'Rise', 'True' and the fine closing song that is 'Bad bone'. This album fits nicely into 'Burn the Maps' territory and has it's own beauty and grace that make it worth a tenner of anyones money! Go buy this cd, stick it in the player thingy, get a large glass of wine, the one you adore and snog the face of her to this, it's LUSH!