Burn the Maps

The Frames

Although earlier albums saw Ireland’s The Frames copping moves from U2 and The Proclaimers, the subtle blend of electronics with guitar on Burn the Maps nods heavily in Radiohead’s direction. Artistically, The Frames are merely trying to similarly establish mood as an important part of the composition of a song. Forgiving some of the acoustic coffee shop serenading that occurs, the band creates some fine moments in which disturbing tension seethes below the apparent calm. In “Ship Caught in the Bay,” vocalist Glen Hansard’s whispering, “We’ll show each other where it hurts/ And make the fuckers pay,” is a harrowing “we’re OK—they’re not OK” pledge of retribution. Similarly powerful is “Sideways Down,” replete with string sections rising and falling over gentle, buried waves of atmospheric guitar lines while its narrator laments the lover who failed to provide exactly what she took. Burn the Maps is heartfelt and powerful, and there’s no question that The Frames mean it; only now is the band getting close to using its own voice.