Sound: Framing Hanley may call Nashville, Tennessee their hometown but the rock quintet's sound is loaded with melodically taut frizzing in the guitar chords and seething riffage symbolic of 30 Seconds To Mars. The band's latest release A Promise To Burn triggers modern rock flusters in the vane of Breaking Benjamin with howling vibrations that shear a path of crisscrossing slashes. Most of the album follows a Goth rock model relatable to the band's musical influences like 30 Seconds To Mars exemplified in the track You Stupid Girl, which is not as derogatory as it may appear in the title. There are a few flecks here and there that could have originated from the band like the romantic rock glint of Fool With Dreams and the piano trills arching long and hollowing out along the grooves of The Burn.
The record oscillates between slinging lukewarm surges like in Back To Go Again to barreling fast and furiously with brawny thrusts like in Livin' So Divine which threads a swathe of screaming vocals from lead singer/guitarist/pianist Kenneth Nixon. The song You brings out the best in Nixon's vocals starting out as a country shaded rocker that blows out into a series of rapturous guitar wails from Brandon Wooten and Ryan Belcher, cratered by a steady rhythmic beating from bassist Luke McDuffe and drummer Chris Vest. The slow rising rumbles of Photographs and Gasoline culminate into a salvo of windwhipping explosions, and the cindering chars tearing across The Burn are elevated by the searing guitar burns. Framing Hanley's album is cut with hard rock arrows that have a touch of romanticism on its tips. // 8
Lyrics: Love is in the air in some of Framing Hanley's lyrics like in Fool With Dreams as Nixon pleads, Don't say a word / Let our eyes speak / They will tell you I'm a fool with dreams / Not a lot of things/ I swear that I'll be all you need / Don't give up on me / Give me one more day / Don't give this all away / We'll be fine, you'll see / Just don't give up on me. Other times, the lyrics can have a venomous sting like in Photographs and Gasoline when Nixon insists, No use taking off your clothes, we won't be going there tonight / You were kind enough to say hello / I figured I could at least say good bye / By the way, I was thinking about telling you that I was in love with her / I'm still in love with her / So take this photograph and I'll take this empty frame / I won't be coming back I wasn't really yours in the first place. Ouch, you would not want to be the recipient of that knife. // 7
Overall Impression: Produced by Brett Hestla, Grey Archilla and Dan Malsch at Soundmine Studios in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, A Promise To Burn has familiar riffage and cuts relatable to 30 Seconds To Mars and Breaking Benjamin with a few bits and pieces that distinguish Framing Hanley from their peers. The album is a competitive endeavor, meaning it was made with the intention to be as close as possible to the band's musical influences. They imagined an ideal and strived to reach it. And though they hit their mark, I probably liked those songs that were meant to be fillers on the album like Fool With Dreams and The Burn since they were on the tail end of the record. There is a lot to like about the album and a lot that will make you thing of other bands. // 8