The Frames

The Cost (Anti-)

Phases & Stages

The Frames

The Cost (Anti-)

Following 2005 scorcher Burn the Maps, the Frames' sixth studio disc goes for broke and comes up bust. While the Irish darlings always harbored epic ambitions, The Cost's overblown arrangements, trite songwriting, and frontman Glen Hansard's hopelessly predictable whispers building into cringing falsetto result in maudlin caricatures. Even Colm MacConiomaire's violin, the most dynamic element of the group, sounds overwrought and sentimental behind Hansard's wail. Although "People Get Ready" hints at Snow Patrol's restrained grandiosity, "True," with dramatic vocals that recall fellow countryman Damien Rice's earnest swells, explodes into self-indulgent pathos exaggerated by lyrics that would make emo bands groan: "I find it so hard to be true/I'm gonna try my best for you." Everything about The Cost is inflated and with little payoff, a blight for a band worth so much more.

*.5

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