Artist: Framing Hanley
Label: Thermal Entertainment
Five years can feel like forever, especially for fans of a band like Framing Hanley. While their kickstart to fame was a cover of Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop,” their music has spoken for itself and gained them thousands of fans worldwide. Fame has its price, though and even the brightest stars begin to burn out after awhile. With those facts in mind, it’s important and understandable that they decided to take a hiatus. No one knew if they would return and, in fact, their last album, The Sum of Who We Are had a melancholic aura, signaling the end of an era. However, approximately three years after the announcement, the band returned with one thing in their mind – to do this on their own terms, for the fans who begged to have them back. On February 21st, ENVY, the band’s first album in a full five years was released and serves as an incredible testament to their abilities as artists. As “rock” in nature as it may be, it also is more grandiose and genre-defying than ever expected.
No two songs sound the same and each song has its own clear, defined identity. From the climactic chorus of a song like “Bubbles,” to the heavier riffs and darker-tinged nature of a song like “Misery,” there are no shortage of surprising moments. A real turning point, though, comes with the beginning moments of “Joke’s On Us,” which features hip-hop beats with a soaring chorus that instantly gets stuck in the listener’s head. While the band likely wasn’t aiming for any airplay ability, this track in particular seems like it was molded for “Top 40” airwaves. “Misery” has a beautiful, orchestral section in the chorus that really makes it shine, even in its slower pace.
Still, though, you have tracks that take a complete left turn from anything they’ve ever done, showing that they still have a few tricks up their sleeves, despite the longevity of their career. One of those tracks (and my favorite example) is called “Maeve.” Part indie, part blues, this track really stands out among the rest for how different it is. What’s more, the instrumentals (namely the guitars) really dig deep and get into your soul as much as Nixon’s vocal delivery. “Carousel” is another example of their abilities to create epic, staying choruses that really stick with the listener. There are a lot of tempo changes on the track, as well, which make it hit different from others on the album.
Finally, “Baggage Claim” finishes the album out with layered vocals, piano and acoustic guitar. It feels very much like something that Andrew McMahon (Jack’s Mannequin) or Justin Furstenfeld (Blue October) would write. Incredibly emotional in nature, the build and break of this track makes it a perfect closer.
Framing Hanley didn’t just return, they did so in style. ENVY stands tall as their best album to date, proving that time really does make a difference to a great album. Written on their own terms, completed in their own time-frame and with little to no expectations, they’ve proven that they still have what it takes to make it. Even if this ends up being their final album, ENVY would be one hell of a swan song. Pick up your copy, out now on Thermal Entertainment, via the link below and discover what just might be one of the best rock albums of 2020!
“Throwing Knives (Audio Video)”
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