7 November 2008

The Frames - Masquerade

Label: Island
Year of Release: 1992

In some respects, it's tempting to include The Frames on a blog like this just for the sake of it, because typing "Pixies soundalike band lead by the bloke who played Outspan Murphy in the film 'The Commitments'" is just so damn satisfying. You'd never have thought whilst watching the film that he had an inner Frank Blank punching at his rib cages and troubling his very soul.

In other respects, I'm aware that the above paragraph seems slightly dismissive for all its factually correct qualities. There's no question that during their earliest days The Frames were sorely indebted to The Pixies and were perhaps signed before they were ready to face the world, but "Masquerade" is still a truly brilliant track, featuring one of the best riffs of the year and a genuinely uninhibited vocal performance. It's a barking, screaming, savage little bleeder of a thing with just enough commercial oil to stop it all from sounding too much like a "John Peel airplay only" affair. To my mind, it was one of the best debut singles of 1992 - lacking in an identity of its own, certainly, but still a lot better than a great many other borderline-parody bands who were around at the time and seemed to get a much easier critical ride.

The band are apparently still very active in Ireland and as such probably don't really deserve to have a place on this blog, but I can possibly get away with putting them down as "The Frames mk I" as there have been numerous line-up changes in the past sixteen years.

The video, as you probably noticed, is taken from the Chart Show and features backing singer Noreen O'Donnell mugging for the camera in the manner of a frustrated lead, flaying her arms around and flicking her eyes skywards like a small child after too many Trebor Fruit Salads. She left in 1996, whether to a band of her own or not I really couldn't say (in fairness, it's something she probably would have done well). Lead singer Glen Hansard, meanwhile (for it is he, Outspan Murphy) seems to be doing his best to look rugged and psychotic, banging at his own reflection in frustration and suchlike. No, it's not the best promo flick in the world, but never mind.

The single, as you may also have noticed, hasn't been put up for download on here. I do own a copy and would have been quite willing to Sharebee it up for you all, but rather unbelievably it's still available for sale on iTunes and doubtless numerous other online stores as well, so I avoided sticking it up as a freebie in order not to incur the wrath of Island/ Universal.

Thanks to craydee75 for the YouTube upload.

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