The Frames

Burns the Maps (Anti-)

SXSW Records

The Frames

Burn the Maps (Anti-)

Today's pre-eminent boutique label, home to Solomon Burke, Marianne Faithfull, Tom Waits, Neko Case, and Nick Cave, Anti- scores another big coup with the Frames' eighth record. Formed in 1991 in Dublin, Ireland, the Frames have long crafted great music, but due to label headaches haven't been built up any steam in America. Expect that to change with Burn the Maps, already one of 2005's best platters. Ireland's Pixies, the Frames are known to dwell in the polar caps of amplitude and delivery, oftentimes in the same song. More of the same here, but better, with lyrics offering subtle surprises. Frontman Glen Hansard has never sounded better, Colm Mac Con lomaire's fiddle adds fathoms of depth, and Joseph Doyle's bass anchors it all. "Fake" should be in heavy rotation on every rock station, whereas "Locusts" possesses unstated grace. "Finally" delivers measured but effective tension, punctuated by Joseph Doyle's syncopated percussion, before a string section envelops everything, dashing bits of color before the song mosaics and then evaporates. "Underglass" is simply fucking brilliant, three minutes of chaotic power and poise. The whole is lovingly captured on tape with the help of new guitarist Rob Bochnik, who just happened to spend eight years working at Steve Albini's Electrical Audio Studio in Chicago. Jaysus lads, get out the oven mitts – this one smokes. (Friday, March 18, 12mid @ Antone's)

****

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