With a stature head and shoulders above their contemporaries earned via the post-hardcore/screamo excellence of their two EP’s to date, Gainesville-based Frameworks have already become something of a go-to name for lovers of the more visceral side of modern music. Their recent signing to Topshelf Records, home to the talents of Suis La Lune, Nai Harvest, and Dikembe among others, has only worked to bolster their musical presence. Due to this growing status, partly owing to the attention granted them by sites from Noisey to Pitchfork, Frameworks debut LP Loom has been anticipated with a respectable level of expectation. The release of tracks “Loom,” “Mutual Collision,” and “Familiar Haze” set the bar at a level of frenetic brilliance which not only wiped the sweat from fans concerned whether the record would live up to previous EP’s, but posed the question of whether it could in fact exceed that which had come before. Those questions were rightfully posed, as Loom expresses not only the sense of energy and ferocity Frameworks are so competent at inducing into their tracks, but reminds us that the young band are so much more than just excitable noise. They have a sense of maturity in their songwriting, which conducts the aggression beautifully and makes Loom a record of stunning execution.
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An aspect of Framework’s music which has allowed them to construct a sense of tenderness within their tracks has been their inclusion of moments of serene ambience, involved on their debut EP Every Day is the Same, but something which took an increased role on last year’s Small Victories. Hence when it was announced that Jack Shirley, notable for his work with Deafheaven, was to produce the album it promised a further step into such a world. Loom doesn’t disappoint, with the band successfully conducting moments of such glistening beauty it’s hard to measure up with the equally impressive force found elsewhere. “Mutual Collision” offers a chance to catch some breath amidst a sea of polished guitar tones and soaring tremolo. It is a stage of perceptive bliss and further marks the impressive musical capabilities of the band. The record’s closer, “Agreeable Thoughts,” opens with a clean progression, and while certainly not shoegaze, it again represents clearly the more delicate sensibilities the band possess and, more importantly, their ability to successfully exhibit them. It is also used at times to crank up the intensity, most notably again on “Mutual Collision.” However, the outro of “Bright And New” clocks in as a stroke of compositional genius, as a guitar line which feels as if it has been pulled straight out of a Texan ranch is drizzled in pitched harmonics and a bass-line to match. What all of this adds up to is an exhibition of Frameworks’ ability to transcend genre and categorisation, and when it is all produced so profoundly, with Jack Shirley levelling the various instrumentation perfectly alongside vocalist Luke Pate’s throaty screams, the result is nothing short of remarkable.
For all of Frameworks skill in changing pace and offering periods of calm, it is however still the destructive and thoroughly engaging canvas of noise and energy which drives Loom. The title track wetted appetites via its release a couple of months ago, an exhibition in how to successfully build up anticipation and unleash it in a satisfactory detonation of emotion. The emotion being detonated is unclear, but the effect is almost therapeutic; it is less a notion of negativity, more one of relief. The frantic instrumentation on another of the album’s highlights, ‘Splinters,’ further reflects a sense of urgency in the band’s writing, but again the perception which accompanies it. The seemingly erratic switches between drum beats clothe the track in a sense of intrigue as the cascade of guitars and bass provide the bristling intensity the song espouses. However, for want of two minutes of pure, hinge-less, intelligent post-hardcore, “Autonomy” hits the spot in exceptional fashion. The drums power through a series of calculated and profound beats, allowing the track to engage in its unpredictable nature but retaining its abrasive core. The guitars, as always, embolden the savage energy of the song, but here are the closest to having any pop-punk parallels you will find on the album. However, it’s still fierce, with Frameworks not allowing themselves to lose sight of their fresh, aggressive, and provoking approach. Throughout the record, Loom never fails to thrill in its exhausting execution, a testament to the band’s skill in composing a sound which is as engaging as it is brutal, and never looking to do the same thing twice.
Judging from their first two EP’s, Frameworks’ vocalist Luke Pate can scream. His raw, honest approach translated well and it reflected the intent of music perfectly. However, a full-length proposed a different kind of problem, as Pate would have to prove he could engage over a longer list of tracks and offer something which demanded an audience’s attention. On Loom, he has not only laid to rest any doubts, but has furthered his reputation as a talent to be excited about. The intensity and heartfelt desire on show is both frenzied and moving in its delivery, with Pate seemingly at times on the verge of emotional collapse and exhaustion, others dangerously barbed and brimming with unkempt ferocity. His performance on “Bright And New” is loose with anger and desperation, evoking notions of fear and sorrow, perfectly followed by the clean section mentioned above. “Autonomy” sees his desperation leak through, presented by his increasingly strained vocals as the track progresses. This can similarly be witnessed on “Familiar Haze,” a song which burns slower than the rest but is intensely provocative in its construction. Here, Pate has to be more calculated and rein in his vocals more, which he manages to work perfectly. His performance is more tempered as the track builds steam, maintaining a sense of its wild excitement, but walking hand in hand as the music gathers momentum. However, when the instrumentals decide to take off, Pate is more than ready to join them, culminating in conclusion of boiling intensity. For me, Pate’s vocals are what has impressed me most about Loom. I had confidence in the quality of the music, but some doubts about whether Pate could deliver. I think it’s fair to say they have since been disposed.
So far, 2014 has treated us well in terms of album releases. La Dispute, Ratking, and Sun Kil Moon are a few among those who have already dropped records which have attracted a deserved amount of attention, expressing their artist’s ability to compose albums full of ingenuity, ambition and successful execution. Loom can certainly feel deserved of a place among and indeed above many such records released thus far. It lays out the band’s relentless desire to impress and excite, never simple in its execution, but nonetheless extremely accessible and enjoyable. I feel that the consistency and impression of Loom is admirable and rarely achieved to such a degree. I’m confident that, come December, Loom will be an album at the forefront of my mind.