A Frames - Black Forest (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

A Frames

Black Forest (2005)

Sub Pop

I have a hard time picturing exactly what the Gestapo did in their off time during World War II. I would imagine, however, that they'd enjoy get-togethers pulverizing their kidneys with pint after pint of German lager after a hard day's work serving their fearless leader. Not going to the discothèque and rocking out sternly to futuristic beats and harshly spit bits of acidic mind-fucking. But if they were to, Black Forest would probably be the DJ's prime choice of spinning.

Granted, A Frames can and probably will be roughly thrown into the current array of bands itching with fervor for 80's new wave and a possible inclusion of danceable beats, but there's just enough here to help avoid the surefire oncoming indictments of rehashing, as the disc's progression comes to show. Where many of A Frames' peers are simply updating on a single band's style, Black Forest relies on a bout of futuristic beats and Min Yee's tyrannical voice. Yee is emotional, but more in the sense that his delivery is honestly so forthright and contemptible you'd think you accidentally got hold of an updated narrative of Mein Kampf on tape1. Picture this against a dirty low end Death From Above 1979 are probably thumbing-up over and trash can-like taps and you've almost got the right idea.

Though the post-modern new wave approach reminds me a bit of the Network's album, tracks like "Death Train," "Black Forest II," and "Memoranda" take a bit more of a simple approach, musically speaking. Sort of. Each borrows a guitar tone reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand and Modest Mouse's last efforts, but the title track sequel breaks down chanting its song title and thus creates another creepy, familiar mood.

A Frames is just about creative enough to distance themselves from the pack they'll get haphazardly lumped in by a few, but I'm too busy hiding relatives in the attic to notice.


1 - I'm not at all insinuating any of the band members are actually neo-Nazis; the sound really just more or less gives me this gloomy picture of the era, though.