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Burn the Maps


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Audio CD, February 8, 2005
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Product Description

Ireland's biggest band (even rivaling U2) has built an impressive North American fan base from scratch. They put on an incredibly dynamic show and their constant touring, both on their own and with Damien Rice, Calexico, and The New Pornographers, has paid off to the point where they sell out large clubs in all the major cities. This is their fifth studio album and first for Anti. It's also their most cohesive. The band have reconciled their various personalities into one volatile organism, synthesizing gorgeous melancholy with full-blown anger. "The Frames sing about love and death and revelation. They pick folky ballads full of quiet longing; they seethe and mourn; they build crescendos and taper down to fiddle tunes and build again, making hearts surge every time"--NY Times.

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On their first studio album in nearly four years, the Frames have opted for a fuller, more adventurous sound than on 2001’s Steve Albini-produced For the Birds, although this placid, smoky-bar ambiance owes more to 'Birds than to 1999’s Dance The Devil. From the opening acoustic strums and lingering background vocals of "Happy" through "Locusts" and its Donovan-does-"Atlantis" vibe, this record teeters on the dark side, rescued by the stirring John Cale inspired string arrangements of violinist Colm Mac Con Iomaire. Most of the Dublin based foursome’s dozen tracks have muted beginnings that swell to intoxicating volumes, as is the band’s trademark, with Glen Hansard’s uninhibited vocals uniformly at ease with the turbulent "Underglass" and the dreamy, windblown "Ship Caught in the Bay" (seemingly written with Astrud Gilberto in mind). It’s an unpredictably bipolar record with plenty of mood swings and emotional shifts that will ultimately leave listeners with feelings of euphoria. --Scott Holter

1. Happy
2. Finally
3. Dream Awake
4. A Caution to the Birds
5. Trying
6. Fake
7. Sideways Down
8. Underglass
9. Ship Caught in the Bay
10. Keepsake
11. Suffer in Silence
12. Locusts

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 8, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Anti
  • ASIN: B00079I04C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,182 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By KalleR on February 8, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The Frames have long been the best kept secret of Ireland, but all that is about to change with this record and the coming year. If you have a chance to see them live, DO NOT MISS THEM. They are a force to be reckoned with live and it is there that they truly shine in all their glory. There are precious few bands playing today that work as hard for their audience, and not many at all that respect and engage their audience so directly as The Frames. They simply love playing music and they love playing it for you.

Burn The Maps is a beautiful album and a wonderful counterpoint to that live experience. It is a terrific piece of work, as you'd expect from the lads, with wonderful highs and lows, broad sonic landscapes and quiet intimate tunes, lush arrangements, heartfelt lyrics and epic aspirations. Many of the tracks have a similar feel in the way they build towards climactic crescendos of sound and outpouring of emotion. For the first time on a Frames album it really feels like a cohesive band collaboration, rather than previous efforts. Compare it to previous albums where often Hansard's songs were most likely worked up into band numbers, which worked extremely well too, but was simply different to the current approach. For that reason, this album should be of interest to musicians and songwriters evrywhere.

Hansard continues to produce some of the most interesting and evocative lyrics around, and his singing seems to go from strength to strength. A really great front man. Colm Mac Con Iomaire's violin plays a central and significant role on this album, and deservedly so, as in many ways he defines the sound and energy of all that the band does.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Berman on March 15, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I have not been so excited about a group since 1971. And never have listened to a CD more times than I've listened to The Frames' Fitzcarraldo.....but then I got that before Burn The Maps.

There's not a moment of instrumental superflash a la Hendrix, rarely a lyric that astonishes a la Dylan........but no one on the planet sings with more heart than Glen Hansard.....many songs are like an entire play with soft, lulling passages opening into scenes of stormy yelling drama......

And there's a tightness to this group, whose absolute center is Hansard.......and which has been going in various incarnations since 1990...............and a uniqueness (I loosely think of it as Irish alt-rock-folk)

to the sound, the tone, the lyric........the blend of it all.........

I guess the one proviso is that you have to like moody and romantic and rock and lyrical all together. I can't stand overly sentimental stuff, so

the fact that The Frames can put so much emotion, longing, sorrow, anger, memory into a song without ever being cloying is miraculous.

I have never seen a better concert than The Frames in Portland, Oregon in 2005.........and of perhaps 10,000 CDs I've listened to in my life...........would place Fitzcarraldo and Burn The Maps in the top 1%.........listen to Burn The Maps without expecting anything in particular..........and be ready to go somewhere both strange yet wonderfully familiar

With most groups, I know where I stand on their music within a few notes of each song, certainly by the time I get thru a CD. The Frames start out with me thinking they're really good, and by the third time thru.......I am sent back decades to the excitement (though quite a different style of music) of being a teen-age fan listening to the Kinks, or Dylan, or Cream.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Williamson on March 28, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Recently voted Best Irish Band in the Meteor Awards, expectations rest heavily on The Frames. Four years after the platinum-selling, For the Birds, Burn The Maps could be the album that propels The Frames to the zenith of their career. It could also mark the site of what might have been.

Every band has a strong point; be it the gravel of Johnny Cash, the intricacies of Lambchop, or the poetry of Dylan. For the Frames, it's the ability to be aggressively brash one moment and violently quiet the next. Some songs need canyons to breathe, but some sit quietly in the corner of the room. Burn the Maps doesn't start by kicking the door down. Opener, Happy, begins with solitary, gloomy acoustic followed by simple bass and drums. Glen Hansard's boy soprano melody glides over the top. It's very restrained, but with intimations of something more abandoned. The martial rhythms and brutal guitar enter next with single, Finally. Full of conviction and doubt, the vocals break into an anguished cry with the violin circling overhead like a vulture eyeing its prey. This is the Frames we know doing what they do best. In typical fashion, they pull the volume right down for the next track before bursting forth once more.

The whole record speaks with the melancholy bitterness of a disappointed lover, ricocheting between resentment and regret, love and hate, art and blood. Full of big songs but sung with the conviction they need, the album's centrepiece is Fake, The Frames' answer to Smashing Pumpkins' Today. Soaring riffs merge with infectious melodies to disguise the honest lyrics. The `A' side builds up to this crescendo, with the `B' side coming back down, finishing how it started. Underglass is worth mention for its driving bassline, towering chorus and haunting verse. It's their darkest album to date, but the openness brings a feel of authenticity. If it gets the recognition it deserves, the Frames will be huge.

Andrew Williamson
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