The Frames

The Cost

This too-little-known Irish band crafts nervy, frayed ballads that move along at a deliberate pace—with both breath and space between the words—then erupt into vortices of sound and then, after the storm passes, ease back down into sparse, hesitant musings. Almost anthem-like during the epiphanic, distorted electric guitar outbursts and laced with pensive self-doubt when things quiet down, this assaying of loneliness suggests that by no means is happiness guaranteed. The only thing certain is the rising and falling of our emotive lives. They execute their swell-and-ebb aesthetic with a dynamic precision sweeping from stylized romanticism to explosions of immediate emotion. This creates a tension within both music and lyrics, a careening from atmospheric introspection to angst-laden expression.