Single Frame - Body/End/Basement [CD/DVD] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Single Frame

Body/End/Basement [CD/DVD] (2005)


The other day at work [CompUSA] I bought one of those Atari joystick devices that contained a slew of old video games that I adored in my childhood; Galaga, Pac-Man, Centipede, etc… While I was born a Nintendo kid, I still logged many hours and high scores from playing those classics on 5.25" floppy disks that accompanied my family's first personal computer. Once I had a bag of popcorn and the unit connected to my television, I was ready to relive my childhood glory. Unfortunately, the nostalgic glory of these games wore off quickly, now that I'm used to the high-paced action of Half-Life 2 or the puzzle madness of Lumines, the timeless masterpieces did not quite feel the same as they did years ago. Taken in small increments, blasting aliens and eating ghosts provided enough fun to relive the glory days; however, too much just seemed to tarnish the perfect image of my childhood favorites.

Single Frame uses the same formula that I used for entertainment on their Volcom debut Body/End/Basement. Instead of stretching their synth-rock songs well over the three-minute threshold that most acts display, they keep them in a range you are more likely to find in punk and hardcore songs. The seventeen-track release barely presses 34 minutes, with the majority of the tracks never blowing past two minutes. A second DVD disc complements the brevity with 9 music videos.

2005's musical theme seems to bank on synth or scream, and the bloated genres require an intriguing touch to set them apart from the rest of the pack. Unfortunately, aside from their conciseness, Single Frame do not venture to far out of the synth-revival pack. The record would not be confused for dance-pop á la Hot Hot Heat, but instead swerves down a darker path similar to Alkaline Trio's twist on pop-punk. The structure the group is built on is intriguing, however; the problem is that the music is just the opposite. Throughout the duration of the record, guitars, pianos, drums, and electronic instruments fail to present themselves as memorable. Not until "Culture Medium," the fifth track, does Body/End/Basement share any energy, and what is potentially a breakout is hampered by the raw production found in Death From Above 1979 that does not feel right with the smooth keyboard rhythm. With such little time to prove themselves, one would assume much time would not be wasted; despite the succinctness of the disc, a few tracks serve merely as filler ("Stuffed Animal Wall," "Lost Pines (Dream & Body)," and "Tiny Whispers").

The latter half of the material harnesses a few songs that audibly illustrate what Single Frame are capable of. Poppy cuts "Digital Witness" and "People Are Germs" combined with the Faint-ish "Second Handshake" redeem many of the earlier, dire tracks. Single Frame tote a worthy manipulate of their genre, short and to the point. There is enough excitement in the short span of the notable, upbeat tracks that would help compile a strong full-length and definitely make a perfect soundtrack for quick spurts of Excite Bike or Asteroids. Despite the latter praise, after excessive playback, the majority of Body/End/Basement gels together forming quite an unmemorable listen.