Agony Shorthand

Friday, April 11, 2003
A-FRAMES "A-FRAMES"....All right, the A-FRAMES are first band I've been turned onto as a result of comments on the blog! Everyone wins. These Seattle youngsters, you may recall, have been highly touted as at the vanguard of the burgeoning robotic punk underground. Dr. Butcher had this to say: "If you want to hear a robotic, post-punk release from last year that blows the Numbers' "Numbers Life" completely out of the water you should check out the self titled debut album (vinyl only) by Seattle's A-Frames on Dragnet Records. This album was one of my faves of last year. Ironically, I've heard their upcoming sophomore album and, same as the Numbers, they have succumbed to the whole "I am a computer" Sprockets vocalizing that's...well...dumb". Then Ryan chimed in with the news that the "A-Frames LP is gone, the CD version is out this week as a SS/Dragnet label split label release; either label can set you up. Their o/p 7" are even better (surprise!), one each on SS and Dragnet. Singing robots are getting laid these days, gentlemen, the pretty girls wanna suck the chrome off...". Thank you for your input, Ryan!

I ordered the CD from S/S Records, and it is as they say. Loud, aggressive (but not overly crazed) SCREAMERS-style panic punk, with short, tight 2-minute killers that actually rely far more on guitar/bass/drums than they do on poorly-played electronics. Every now and again there is an absolute BLAST of synth noise that pretty much appears out of nowhere. There are also great, detached female backing vocals on a couple of tracks, and the kick-off track, "Hostage Crisis", will absolutely not get out of my head this week. The lyrical concerns -- even the titles -- are a juvenile science class hodge-podge ("Calculator", "Nobot", "Plastica", "Transgenic", etc.), but whatever. This is one hot band. Does it blow the NUMBERS' fantastic 2002 "Numbers Life" CD completely out of the water? Absolutely not -- don't be foolish. But the A-FRAMES are one of the best of the new pack of punk noisemakers I've heard in some time. Hey, can someone stop the upcoming release and edit out the aforementioned moronic Sprockets/Kraftwerk vocals? There may still be time!