A Promise to Burn
More than a one trick pony
Although garnishing some positive press for their debut album The Moment (which was released back in 2007), most will no doubt remember Framing Hanley by their rocked up makeover of Lil Wayne’s Lollipop. While the cover did give the Nashville (Tennessee, U.S.) based act plenty of attention, it didn’t exactly translate to overwhelming sales of their own album, with the re-release of their debut in 2008 barely making an impact on the global alternative/hard rock scene.
It’s been a couple of years since then, and the five piece act (comprising of vocalist/guitarist/pianist Kenneth Nixon, guitarist/pianist/backing vocalist Ryan Belcher, guitarist Brandon Wootten, bassist/backing vocalist Luke McDuffee and drummer Chris Vest) have finally put together their sophomore effort A Promise to Burn.
After the short build up instrumental Intro, the band opens up the album with the moody and slower paced The Promise. Much like the intro, it takes a bit for The Promise to eventually take off, but what it does do, is provide the album with a track that bridges the song writing formula the band showed on their former album, albeit with an added cohesiveness that’s been refined in the three years they’ve been away.
The more up-tempo and heavier sounding Wake Up is an early favourite with Nixon putting in a great performance with his varied melody lines and chorus structures, while the anthem-like Bittersweet Sundown and the urgency of Warzone firmly reinforcing the band’s determination to prove themselves as something more substantial than merely a band who’s claim to fame amounts to a beefed up cover of a hip-hop hit.
The single You Stupid Girl is a solid enough track, although sounds a little restrained in the guitar department to really take off in a huge way, while the semi-acoustic ballad Weight of the World, You and the slower Fool With Dreams are a little too lightweight and clichéd compared to the tracks before them, and therefore comes across as a little more like padding around the middle of the album.
The energy of Back to Go Again (the second single lifted from the album) and the harder edge of Livin’ So Divine sees the band steer the album back on course, while the lengthy Photographs And Gasoline shows that Framing Hanley can experiment a little outside the framework they’ve pigeonholed themselves into, and succeed at creating something a little edgier and infinitely more interesting than almost anything else on the album.
Given the strength and the down out end of Photographs And Gasoline, The Burn gets a little lost at the tail end of the album, despite being quite a strong number.
Overall, A Promise to Burn is a good follow-up to The Moment, and one that fans of Framing Hanley will no doubt totally enjoy. And while it does have its flaws, such as running a couple of songs too long, sounding a little too formulated in parts and the guitars sounding a little tuned out in favour of the vocals, the band at least managed to well and truly grow as song writers in the last three years, and prove that they’re no novelty act.
(Silent Majority Group/Stomp Entertainment)