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(Older reviews archived alphabetically by artist name.)

  Smash the Superstition  
  The Frames  
  Little Big Records  
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2003 was the year of The Frames. (It's true -- expect a UN declaration any day now....) This was the first of their three releases during the year. It is an EP made specifically for their Australian tour, featuring the excellent Headlong from the For the Birds album, as well as 5 tracks recorded live for an Australian radio station.

Headlong is a great tune, and we actually get two versions of it here, the album version to start things off, and an energetic crowd sing-along that is the 4th live track in. Both are quite nice.

The live stuff starts off with a rocker, God Bless Mom. You can hear the audience singing along, and lead Frame Glen Hansard goofs around with the lyrics (managing to reference both Black Francis and Tiffany in under a minute!). The real star here is Colm Mac An Iomaire's violin work, which shines. Right as that song is fading away, Hansard and lead guitarist Simon Goode stomp on the overdrive pedals, and the band tear into Pavement Tune. Up next is a wah-wah heavy version of The Stars are Underground. Then Headlong, and finally The Frames wrap it up with a cover of the song Heyday by Mick Christopher. I am unfmailiar with Christopher's work, but this is a fine pop song, and both The Frames and the crowd have fun with it.

The whole EP is about a half hour long, and it is great great fun. The Frames have a lot of charisma, and half the fun of seeing them is the goofy sing-along atmosphere and the silly stories that Hansard tells. You get these here, and listening to it i can sense the tremendous energy this band has live. Plus, the live tracks are well-recorded, so they sound great.

If you enjoy the Frames, then you need to track this down. It is an Australian release, so might be a little rare. Even so, i found it reasonable priced locally (in Atlanta). If you are interested in hearing them, then this EP does feature many great songs and could serve as an adequate introduction to this fine band. On the other hand, if you are already a fan, then none of the music here is new. They might be exciting new versions, but i know that some people are content without such things. Still, it's something to tide you over until The Frames tour again.

Related Links:

For the Birds, the album which features Headlong.
Roads Outgrown, an outtakes collection also released in 2003.


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