A Frames 

Black Forest

On the A Frames' third album and Sub Pop debut, their sound is so perfectly, disturbingly dark, it immediately evokes chilly images of a bleak, postapocalyptic world where humans have become drones and the landscape has become, well, a black forest. And amid all of mankind's failure is a beat -- a really good beat. So while all this grim, 1984-style talk of an increasingly mechanized world might bring you down, the thunderous drum thumps and steely guitar riffs give you a reason to hang around. Built on doomed, funeral-procession timing, "Experiment" features shabby trashcan beats and nagging riffs behind hopeless lyrics: Disconnection is concrete/Reality testing is complete. The infectious "Galena" shifts between repetitive downward-moving bass and lovable Chuck Berry-style guitar backed by '60s-style handclaps. If a love ballad exists within this collection of futuristic foreboding, it is in the ode to "Eva Brown," a sluggish cut made light by shimmering cymbals and a sad melody. The A Frames make an angry racket with a futile outlook like no other; if you have any appreciation for good rock 'n' roll, you'd be hard-pressed not to like it.


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