Menu | Rating System | Guest Book | Archived Reviews:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  The Roads Outgrown  
  The Frames  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:

The Frames are one of those bands that i just adore, and 2003 was a year lucky enough to be graced with three (3) new Frames releases. Not an album mind you, but this outtakes collection, an EP featuring some live tracks, and a live album. I am positivley swimmin in new Frames listening, and loving it.

Roads Outgrown is a collection of b-sides and rarities. It includes one live track, and a few re-worked tunes. Some of the re-worked songs are, well, not that different really. That is to say, this disc includes alternate versions of Lay Me Down and Headlong, both off of their most recent full-length, For The Birds. Both are good tunes, but neither of these versions really stands out as all that different. That is, i would need to sit with both CDs and do a real comparison to tell what is different, and quite honestly i have neither the time nor the inclination for such geekery. I will accept The Frames statement that these are different versions, note that both are quality songs, and move on.

The CD also contains an alternate version of God Bless Mom from 1999's Dance The Devil album. On their "nigh-unto impossible to find" website (go ahead -- do a Google search for "frames" -- i dare ya!), there was discussion of a controversy regarding this song. Someone in the band claimed that the label released a version of this song that the band was unhappy with, instead of what they called "the one, true version" of the song. I am guessing that this is that "one, true version". It features a good deal more falsetto than the regular version, and more violin work. The violin is welcome, the falsetto is not. So to me, this version is a toss-up, really.

Speaking of violin work, there is some excellent violin on the track Tomorrow's Too Long wherein violinist Colm Mac An Iomaire really cuts loose in a way that reminds me of Warren Ellis of The Dirty 3. This is a very lovely, simple tune, in which the violin stands out as lead, and the vocals, guitar, and happy little bass riff are it's accompaniments. Aside from The Dirty 3, the violin being lead almost never happens, and i am glad to see Mac An Iomaire get his due.

The most standout track on this disc is a cover of Will Oldham's New Partner, a version which impressed the heck out of Tracers back when we saw The Frames do it live. This is a happy little tune of vaugely mournful nature, that builds gloriously until Hansard is singing full voice, loudly, with violin and guitar dancing around his melody. It's glorious, even to someone like myself who finds Will Oldham annoying. (But i think it's his voice i don't like.) This is an amazing tune.

There are 2 tracks on here that are The Frames stripped down to pretty much just Hansard's voice and light instrumentation. They are Rise, which is voice with quiet guitar, and Listen Girl, which features soulful vocals backed by violin. The first is a decent enough folkish tune, the second is a tragic, heart-rending love ballad.

One final note is the inclusion of the live version of Fittzcaraldo from the Breadcrumb Trail live album (which i have been unable to find -- not that i am bitter or anything). This starts off with a story from Hansard, explaining a possible origin of the song, then the band tears into it. Playing all together like that, my god they are amazing. I have seen The Frames twice, and adored them both times. They are one of the funnest bands i have ever seen live, and their music is organic and alive and wonderful. This recording captures that quite well. However, well, i have been "converted" to their cause through 2 concerts, so i might be biased in thinking this is good. Lord knows i often find live albums to be boring, so maybe this is dull to someone who does not have their own memories to draw on. Maybe. I like it at least.

To sum up, this is an absolutely essential purchase to anyone who is a fan of The Frames. And by all rights, you all should be fans, so go out and find this!

However, if you are new to The Frames, well, this is a pretty good starting point in that it shows the diversity that they are capable of. This is a little mellower than their albums, especially the rocking Dance the Devil, but it is still high quality and quite moving.

Related Links:

For The Birds, the most recent full-length from The Frames.
The Frames live in 2002.


Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Album Review menu.