Sound: Framing Hanley may call Nashville, Tennessee their hometown but the rock quintetâ€™s sound is loaded with melodically taut frizzing in the guitar chords and seething riffage symbolic of 30 Seconds To Mars. The bandâ€™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 bandâ€™s musical influences like 30 Seconds To Mars exemplified in the track â€śYou Stupid Girl,â€ť 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 â€śFool With Dreamsâ€ť and the piano trills arching long and hollowing out along the grooves of â€śThe Burnâ€ť.
The record oscillates between slinging lukewarm surges like in â€śBack To Go Againâ€ť to barreling fast and furiously with brawny thrusts like in â€śLivinâ€™ So Divineâ€ť which threads a swathe of screaming vocals from lead singer/guitarist/pianist Kenneth Nixon. The song â€śYouâ€ť brings out the best in Nixonâ€™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 â€śPhotographs and Gasolineâ€ť culminate into a salvo of windwhipping explosions, and the cindering chars tearing across â€śThe Burnâ€ť are elevated by the searing guitar burns. Framing Hanleyâ€™s album is cut with hard rock arrows that have a touch of romanticism on its tips. // 8
Lyrics and Singing: Love is in the air in some of Framing Hanleyâ€™s lyrics like in â€śFool With Dreamsâ€ť as Nixon pleads, â€śDonâ€™t say a word / Let our eyes speak / They will tell you Iâ€™m a fool with dreams / Not a lot of things/ I swear that Iâ€™ll be all you need / Donâ€™t give up on me / Give me one more day / Donâ€™t give this all away / Weâ€™ll be fine, youâ€™ll see / Just donâ€™t give up on me.â€ť Other times, the lyrics can have a venomous sting like in â€śPhotographs and Gasolineâ€ť when Nixon insists, â€śNo use taking off your clothes, we wonâ€™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 / Iâ€™m still in love with her / So take this photograph and Iâ€™ll take this empty frame / I wonâ€™t be coming backâ€¦ I wasnâ€™t really yours in the first place.â€ť Ouch, you would not want to be the recipient of that knife. // 7
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 bandâ€™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 â€śFool With Dreamsâ€ť and â€śThe Burnâ€ť 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