From the get-go, Framing Hanley were one of the quickest rising stars from the point their debut album The Moment hit the shelves to the launch of their follow-up A Promise To Burn in 2010. And with tracks like “Hear Me Now,” “You Stupid Girl” and “Back To Go Again” driving fans wild, it was the added buzz created by their well-known Lil Wayne cover “Lollipop” that drive this band over the top.
With tours in the US and the UK accumulating hundreds of fans and demand worldwide, Framing Hanley kind of fell off the radar in 2011. From the band leaving their record label, to the struggles that came with creating a new album without the same backing, things became very quiet within the Framing Hanley camp. However 3 years later and with thanks to their Kickstarter campaign (and their dedicated fan base), the band are back with their new album The Sum of Who We Are.
First things first, “Criminal” smacks you in the face with the inevitable fact that Framing Hanley have grown up immensely these past few years. Goodbye to all those genre provoking screams and media-loved variables. And hello to some excellently matured rock.
This vibe carries on throughout with tracks like “Twisted Halos,” “Crooked Smiles” and “Simple Life.” All of which showcase the much loved band from all those years ago. From Kenneth Nixon’s cut throat and stunning vocals to the strength that comes with Ryan Belcher and Brandon Wootten air-guitar-worthy talent, there is a lot different with The Sum of Who We Are, but at the root of it all Framing Hanley are still true to their sound.
Though not letting you get too comfortable, Framing Hanley switches a few things up with tracks like “Unbreakable,” “Streetlights & Silhouettes” and “Castaway.” As unlike what we’ve already heard, these tracks offer listeners another side to this band. From the stripped back percussion heard in “Unbreakable” to the easing acoustic strums and delicate approach in “Streetlights & Silhouettes,” these tracks are not only enjoyable on the ears, but are lyrically sweet.
To give a final world on the album we’re sorry to report that no, Framing Hanley are not the band you first listened to all those years ago. However, like wine and cheese, they only got better with age and this is definitely the case here. With a little something for everyone Framing Hanley have definitely refined their sound and created something truly beautiful.
The Sum Of Who We Are is available April 29, via Imagen Records.
Review by Nicole Tiernan