Sometimes, you just have to give a band a chance. I took the plunge with Life in 24 Frames back in 2017 with their album CTRL+Z, a sound which was described in the promo as Pink Floyd meets The Beach Boys. I’ve enjoyed all of their work since then, too. They are back again with a full length record, Redivider, and it continues my fascination with the band. It releases on March 24th.
The band hails from California. It seems that they haven’t been as active lately, and I’m not certain about their future. However, the current lineup still seems to be Kris Adams on vocals and guitar, Jason Brown on bass and keys, Joey Strouth on drums, and Tony Caldron on guitar.
The band loves two things, or at least these are things I think of when I hear them. First, they love melody. Their vocals, keys, and guitars are ultra-melodic, with Kris’ vocals having a signature, flourishing sound that I recognize instantly. Their music is definitely catchy, but also atmospheric, electronic, and golden in style. They are one band who knows how to add finishing touches in post-production without detracting from the primary sound of the album.
The band also loves concepts. On CTRL+Z, each track was named after one month of the year. With Redivider, the concept is much deeper. Each song title is a palindrome, meaning that it is the same frontwards and backwards. The album has two sides, A and B, and each side has the same song titles. However, the songs are different. One side is a pessimistic inner critic sort of affair, and the other side is a hopeful and confident thought process. The band hasn’t said which side is which.
For my two cents, I think the second half is the hopeful side. The lyrics here are much more confident that change can happen, that this person will not always been stuck in a void of depression and fear. Ironically, the first part of the album, which I think is the pessimistic side, is the brighter and catchier half. The second part is darker and drearier, though more optimistic lyrically. I find that very interesting, and also somewhat reflective of reality for those who have decided to engage in the difficult process of healing and change. This album seeks to show the multiple perspectives one can have about themselves.
Side A is easy to digest. It begins with the effervescence of “Racecar (A)” with its instantly attractive atmosphere and great vocals, and continues on to one of my favorites, “In Words, Alas, Drown I (A)”; this track has a slight Asian melody to it, and the overall effect is soothing, melancholy, and wistful. “Evitative (A)” is a rhythmic wonder with lots of heart, “Lonely Tylenol (A)” is another favorite with a slow, marching tempo with plenty of emotion, and “Not A Ton (A)” is yet another favorite with perhaps the catchiest chorus on the record. I love the keys on that one, too, and the hugely melodic ending.
Side B is damper. Like a palindrome, it plays backwards, so the first track is “Not a Ton (B)”. It is deeper and darker and more electronic, and beautifully so. “Lonely Tylenol (B)” is melancholy, but has moments of loud-quiet dynamics that make it very effective. The crooning chorus is another favorite. “Evitative (B)” is mostly a dream-like instrumental track, though vocals come in near the end, and it flows so well.
“In Words, Alas, Drown I (B)” and “Racecar (B)” end the album, and I think they are my favorites overall. The former is a slow-burning tune that surges in the second half with emotion and determination, as if the person drowning is now rushing to the surface for air; to breathe again once more. The latter is an evocative, expressive piece with moody, almost bluesy shuffling portions that set the stage for the memorable closing. I love the chorus on this one, and the album does leave me feeling determined and earnest. I can’t help but sing along as the album reaches its zenith.
Life in 24 Frames is one of those bands that just deserves more attention. While they aren’t the technical powerhouse that so many people desire, they are a careful, thoughtful band with strong melodies, memorable choruses, and a wonderful aura that feels pure and unadulterated. There is light in their music, even in the darkness, and this unique concept album really delivers on that.
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