Sound: Whilst not as musically impressive as Everyone Into Position (just my opinion of course), Oceansize have demonstrated their ability to write a cohesive album that soars through different emotions until it finally reaches it's epic ending. Unlike previous albums, Frames is less of an amalgam of different genres but more of a progression of one genre.
The album starts off with "Commemorative Shirt" which sets the sound for the rest of the album, flowing beautifully into Unfamiliar. Unfamiliar is probably the closest thing to a single off this album, with a powerful intro leading to a very odd timing verse. This song demonstrates how Oceansize use all 3 guitarists to their full potential, making sure that they all have a crucial part in the song.
Trail of Fire is an atmospheric masterpiece moving through several different stages, reaching an epic climax before it slowly reaches it's calm conclusion. Savant, this albums "Music For a Nurse" except more beautiful, is Oceansize demonstrating just how broad a sound they have. Sigur Ros influenced, this song is just a beautiful piece of music. Only Twin, in my mind, concludes the first part of the album. Similar structure to Trail of Fire, it starts off minimalistic, builds up to an epic climax and then gradually reduces itself down.
An Old Friend of the Christies is where the mood changes. Starting with the eerie church organ, this song slowly builds up until the distorted guitars are brought into the mix. This song helps create an atmosphere of unease, readying you for what is next...
Sleeping Dogs & Dead Lions. This is why I love Oceansize. Never restricted to one genre, Oceansize go all Meshuggah in this drop G frenzy of odd rhythms and odd timed riffs. The ending is just insane, with the time changing every bar, drums and guitars in different times and Mike's perfect vocals over the top.
The album closes with Frames (atleast in my mind, I don't feel Voorhees belongs on the album) which is just the perfect way to end an album. Explosions in the Sky style epic with Mike's beautiful vocals soaring over the top.
The sound of this album is what would happen if you put Meshuggah, TOOL, Explosions in the Sky, Pink Floyd, Sigur Ros and Pelican in a blender. It's incredible. // 9
Lyrics: Mike's vocals are incredible. Simple. When the music is soft, Mike's vocals soar through the music. When the music is heavy with grinding guitars, Mike's vocals tear through the music. The lyrics themselves compliment the music perfectly. Excellent lyric writing skills are demonstrated on Savant and Sleeping Dogs where they compliment the music perfectly. When the music is beautiful, Mike replies with beautiful lyrics. When the music is angry, Mike responds with angry music.
The main draw of Oceansize is the incredible music, but with Mikes vocals and lyrics, they definitely wouldn't be the same band. // 9
Overall Impression: It's easy to overrate albums so I'll try and avoid that here, but it's too hard to ignore the sheer brilliance on display here. Every track, with the exception of Voorhees, has its place on this album. Whilst nothing can touch Everyone into Position, this album sure does try and so very nearly succeeds. Rather than writing 10 incredible songs, Oceansize decided to write an incredible album, and that's what they've done...VERY well. It appears as though they have cemented their sound, but knowing Oceansize they will probably still surprise us next time round. I'd recommend this album to anyone who likes Amplifier, Aereogramme, ISIS, TOOL, old prog rock stuff, post-rock bands like Minus the Bear and EITS, but generally people with open mind. Approach this with an open mind and you won't be disappointed. // 9