After U2, Ireland's most beloved band could well be the Frames, a brooding bunch of Dubliners who specialize in overwrought, overly earnest, arena-sized indie pop that straddles the fence between poignant and monotonous. Far less popular stateside (though frontman Glen Hansard co-starred in Alan Parker's soul-reviving romp, The Commitments, in 1991), the Frames have been courting melancholy steadily for fifteen years, earning platinum status in Galway and a rabid following in the Czech Republic. After countless lineup changes and a few label shifts, the current five-piece recently found a home at Epitaph's signature imprint, Anti-, and released its first studio effort in four years: Burn the Maps. With trademark string-laden dreariness, the album features intensely private songs that delve into love, death, faithlessness and revelation. It also relies on formulaic, soft-loud dynamics, recalling the Pixies during the best of times, a watered-down 3.2 version of the vastly overrated Coldplay at the worst of times. In other words, it ain't half bad.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.