The Frames

The Cost | Anti-
By MIKAEL WOOD  |  April 17, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
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ACTUALIZED: An ambitious Irish rock band without U2’s sense of the absurd, the Frames lighten up on The Cost.
Possibly Ireland’s second-biggest rock band (after you-know-who), the Frames play tense, elegiac folk-punk ballads that always sound as if they were reaching toward the epic. That’s not the same thing as always reaching the epic: at their worst, the Frames can smother you with the weight of their ambition, so that all you hear is frontman Glen Hansard’s desire to say something profound about life and death. And since they seem to lack U2’s appreciation for the absurd, these guys can be pretty tiring. The Cost, however, captures them at their best. Perhaps because they recorded it live in the studio, there’s a refreshing immediacy to the playing (and to Hansard’s writing) that prevents the black cloud of boredom from descending. The band seem aware of it, too: “Too many sad words make a sad, sad song,” Hansard sings over a lovely approximation of Fleetwood Mac’s “Echoes” in “Sad Songs,” The Cost’s best number. How’s that for self-realization?

The Frames | Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville | April 22 | 617.931.2000

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