We got to this one a little late. It’s been well over a year since the first pressing of Single Frame’s Wetheads Come Running. Other `zines’ reviews have come and gone, and we missed our chance to sing the praises of the Texas band’s debut album the first time around. Thankfully, we’ve been given a second chance, as Wetheads has been reissued, curiously, on Volcom Entertainment, unleashed to the world (again) on the questionable release date of April 20th.
Once you look past the logistical details of the album, what you have is a collection of spastic keyboard-and-guitar pop interspersed with bits of found sound and bizarre sonic collages. Though one may be tempted to call such in-between song padding “filler,” they actually make good transitions between songs and rarely last more than 10 or 15 seconds. A recorded telephone recording here, some ambient drones there, and the album flows seamlessly, though only a dozen of the album’s 20 tracks are actually songs.
Single Frame’s musical style is hard to cram into any easily boxed genre. Sure, it’s “indie,” but what the hell does that mean anymore? Guitars screech and crunch. Keyboards chime and chug. And yet, the trio manages not to adhere to one single sound. “Floral Design in a Straight Line” sounds tweaked to the point of being a remix, despite its being the only version we know of. “$7 Haircut” sounds like No Knife covered by Devo. “Mod Style `68” is basically Fugazi minus the guitars. And “Comm. Jet” nicks the chord progression from “Imagine.”
Individually, each song brings to mind a different artist, as mentioned before. Though it’s hard to pin down exactly who Single Frame sounds like. Les Savy Fav? Enon? Modest Mouse? Yes, but not all the time. In “The Slip,” easily the albums catchiest (and best) song, the band recalls all three. But elsewhere other influences are present. Perhaps what makes Single Frame so intriguing is their ability to drift between sounds, blend influences and filter them into a fresh new batch of musical goodness. Or maybe it’s just that they rock. But either way, they aren’t to be overlooked.
So what if this album came out a year-and-a-half ago? It’s no less relevant now than it was then, and certainly no less entertaining. I’ll admit my mistake in not taking notice of the band way back when. And now I know just how brilliant Single Frame is.
Les Savy Fav – Go Forth
Enon – High Society
Devo – Freedom of Choice
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.