The new-era post-hardcore (or ‘wave’) scene, built upon the foundations that La Dispute et al built, has been a key jot on the timeline of modern music. Taking traditional hardcore punk elements and entwining them with melodic song structures, often with impressive technical finesse, the core of these bands has always been the release of emotional energy. Whilst this revolution has undoubtedly breathed new life into a stagnant genre, the list of vapid copycats grows longer with each passing day; band after band going through the motions without attempting anything new. We’ve come full circle again. Post-hardcore needs a new hero. Enter Frameworks.
Aside from the frenetic drum and guitar riffs and visceral screams you’d expect from any self-respecting post-hardcore release, the most impressive aspect of Small Victories is the bands’ ability to retain a rich, progressive sound despite the short running time. Containing four tracks, the longest clocking in at 2.58, there is a whole host of tonal and rhythmic shifts to go alongside the various uses of the instruments. Everything from intentional dissonance and rolling drum waves to blast-beat punk riffs are present. Sudden changes in time signature come and go at will. This diversity, especially when matched with Frameworks’ willingness to stack multiple layers of sound, gives the record a real sense of depth, scale and ultimately maturity. By the time the sorrowful horns in ‘Old Chokes’ come around, it feels like the satisfying conclusion of a much longer journey.
Production-wise, Matt McClellan of Glow In The Dark Studios has handled business well, allowing each instrument and layer to breathe without sacrificing continuity. Whilst it’s worth noting that the vocals are generally impossible to decipher, they sit nicely in the mix, transcending the need for literal understanding with the power of honest delivery. Don’t let that fool you though, dig beneath the surface and you’ll find the same poetic wizardry that is the hallmark of the genre, for example – ‘Watching my reflection turn into someone great, ascending the ranks of my own personal hierarchy, never occurred and will never defer me from digging my own hole inch by inch.’ Many of the lyrics feel like unhindered thoughts and emotions, and none of them feel like they’ve been amended for the sake of accessibility.
And so, Frameworks have begun to establish themselves as a separate entity; a band detached from the trappings and limitations of being associated with modern post-hardcore. There is a variety here that you don’t see that often. A willingness to experiment, and a clear vision. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Small Victories isn’t that it’s so rich and progressive, it’s that Frameworks make it look easy.
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