Frameworks was never a band I wanted to get into. Their sharp screams and lack of conventional musical direction were initially off-putting. But just like wading into the ocean, the process was only briefly uncomfortable before transitioning into an enjoyable experience once fully immersed beneath the weight of the tides.
When I first heard their 2014 full-length, Loom, I was not too sure how I felt about them. It seemed like a lot of noise but there was certainly something enchanting about it all. The beautiful guitar work and the dichotomy between subtle moments of peace and waves of passionate aggression kept me intrigued.
Frameworks is like a dark object in the basement of a horror film that you know you shouldn’t pick up but cannot help to resist. It draws you in until you have no choice but to accept it for what it is. Fortunately for the listener, it is only music and is therefore completely benign.
Their sound, however, is anything but.
Smother is their sophomore LP and their first on Deathwish. The Gainesville, Florida band’s sound fits into the energetic dream-like post-hardcore genre containing bands like Loma Prieta as well as label mates deafheaven and Touché Amoré.
Smother is Framework’s best work to date. Their gritty muddled sound is still evident but is now more refined and technical than ever before. Luke Pate’s yells are emotive, honest, and powerful. Even if you can’t pick out what he attempts to enunciate through the strains of his vocal chords, you can tell he means every word. Once his screams reside into the background of your focus, you are able to truly notice the resonating dark tones of the album as they get laced by the sweet sounds from the lead guitar.
The album is bookmarked by two solid jams. “Fear of Missing Out” gets the album started with a tough throwback hardcore song that’s sure to captivate any fan of the genre thanks to its catchy hooks and rapid pace. “The New Narcissistic American Dream” closes things off by showing the knack Frameworks has developed for writing songs. The six minute outro moves from a hypnotic trance into a heartfelt pounding worth headbanging too and various spaces in between.
“Peculiar People” is a favorite of mine with its calmer parts. It leads into “Purge,” one of the singles from the album which serves as a perfect example of what to expect from the band as a whole. “Marathon” features more excellent guitar work and “Trite” gets things going with some of the darkest bass I’ve ever heard. “Tangled” is the one song on the album that reminds me of why I got into these guys in the first place and seems like something that could have very easily been slotted onto their previous release.
Unfortunately, the lyrics for the album are currently nowhere to be found but if Loom is any indication, I can promise that they will be worth their weight in gold.
I’m not alone in singing my praise for these Floridians as the band has gotten excellent write ups from various corners of the internet.
“In eponymous fashion, Frameworks’ latest truly smothers the listener, yet stops just short of suffocation. Juxtaposed to their Topshelf debut Loom, Smother engages its audience from all angles, filling in the gaps the band’s previous record could not. The drums are tighter, the arrangements are denser, and the attention to detail is microscopic in comparison. This time around, Frameworks salvage scrappiness through a post-hardcore refinery with an even keener sense of pop appeal. The resulting Smother is a statement from one of the most notable melodic hardcore acts on the rise.” – Patrick Pilch for Treble
“Frameworks lack the stagediveable breakdowns of their hardcore contemporaries like Touché Amoré, and they’re too loud and aggressive to be listened to as textural background music á la This Will Destroy You. The Gainesville band instead occupies the unique space between—creating serene moments that make seamless but seismic shifts into abrasive intensity.” – Dan Ozzi for Noisey
This music is for the rare few out there who dare to put up with such abrasive noise. But that doesn’t take anything away from the album as a work of art. For fans of the genre, it has true Album of the Year potential.
Listen to it out below and if you like what you hear, you can additionally check out their Time Spent EP released earlier this year.