Saturday, December 13, 2008

10 Classic Irish Albums (7)

THE FRAMES - Set List (2003)

The Frames tend to divide opinion between the loyalists who flock to their shows and the critics who feel that they should force themselves out of their crusty, folky comfort zone and write more songs like ‘Revelate’ (guess what side I’m on); but there’s one thing that most people will agree on: Set List is a terrific and life-affirming live album that sees the band at the peak of their powers. Recorded in November 2002, it documents a triumphant set in front of an adoring crowd at Dublin's Vicar Street.

A true people’s band if ever there was one, the set is punctuated by anecdotes such as the infamous ‘dog that never moved except to chase that one car’ story, while crowd reaction is high in the mix – a vital ingredient, and one that many live albums lack. But this is no mere cabaret: the music is scintillating and stirring throughout, taking in a grinding, furious ‘Revelate’, the punk-pop rush of ‘Pavement Song’, the lullaby-like ‘Star Star’ and a spine-tingling rendition of ‘What Happens When The Heart Just Stops’. Practically every take here pisses all over its equivalent studio version, and when the mournful, sinister-sounding ‘Fitzcarraldo’ reaches its gut-wrenching climax, you’re left wondering just why Glen Hansard seems content these days to play the role of the glorified busker.

Standout Tracks: Revelate, What Happens When The Heart Just Stops, Fitzcarraldo

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