It’s been awhile since we've heard from Framing Hanley. While their debut full length The Moment was very well received and included the famed cover of “Lollipop” originally by Lil Wayne, and its follow up included even more kickass rock songs, the band have been relatively quiet for the past four years. That, my friends, is about to change. While the Tennessee natives might have completely scrapped one album, their “do-over” is in the process of making its way to a hall of fame status in the rock music community.
Things kick off with “Criminal”. Hook laden, catchy and with a sound that could easily fill an arena it makes an ideal single - which is exactly what the band have used it for. However we feel the need to issue a warning on the track; it will never stop repeating itself in your head. Sure, you might be able to remove it after some effort, but simply reading the world “criminal” will trigger the song to call your head home again.
Next up is a song that’s creepy in all the best ways, “Twisted Halo”. That song then turns into “Collide”. With an epic intro and quality vocals, it’s a track worthy of notation.
“Crooked Smiles” is very well done lyrically. As many awards as the band should receive simply for penning the track, there are more to be given for the precisely placed screaming. At first it’s a bit unexpected, but you’ll quickly realize it was 100% necessary.
The next stop on The Sum Of Who We Are is “Simple Life”. An electronic edge gives the song a life of it’s own and brings to mind Linkin Park. There’s more spotlight shone of vocalist Nixon on this track, and it’s well deserved. The story esque lyrics keep up with “Crooked Smiles”. If the night is young, we could just disappear… into “Simple Life”.
The only key words we wrote down for “Rollercoaster”? Pop punk pizza party. The addition of a female vocalist into the song have it sounding like it would feel right at home on a Cartel record. However, Framing Hanley maneuvers the genre well. If they don’t have a pop punk side project in the works yet, they probably should.
“No Saving Me” takes a drawn back approach with muffled vocals and a slower feel. The song feels like a haunted house, and gives you the same amount of chills. This is a song that stays with you.
After “No Saving Me” wraps up, “Unbreakable” takes control of your earbuds. Nixon’s vocals at the start of the song are reminiscent of Andrew McMahon circa Something Corporate. The song keeps that feel through and through, and comes out at the end a strong track.
“Science” makes a U-Turn back to the electronic of “Simple Life”... times two. It’s strange and tech-y, and overall fits its name very well. It also fits the CD well, but also hints at something to come. The direction this song takes certainly sees Framing Hanley in their best light, and it would be exciting to see how much further they could take it.
After the beauty of “Science”, “Streetlights and Silhouettes” welcomes you with open arms. It’s breathy vibe includes some intriguing work from drummer Chris Vest and guitarists Ryan Belcher and Brandon Wootten. In fact, at the two-minute-fifty-second mark the song breaks into some of the best guitar work you’ll ever hear in your life.
Can “Crash and Burn” be a single? Please? There's so much energy pounded into its three minutes and ten seconds, it’s almost painful. The captivating hook reminds you exactly why it is you love music. There’s nothing about the track that isn’t fantastic. (We’re still hitting repeat.)
And finally, The Sum Of Who We Are flows easily into “Forever Till The End”, the track with the strongest intro of the album. After it wraps up, you'll have arrived at the last track of the album, "Castaway". As much as you don’t want the album to end, it might just be worth it for this gem. Hints of Framing Hanley's future are wrapped into every note, but it's still a bittersweet ending.
To end this review, we’ll simply beg Framing Hanley to continue on this track of rock music greatness. This album is recharged, and full of ferocity and we can’t wait to hear what’s next. Not to mention it has a really cool title.