I remember the good old days of college and the band Framing Hanley stormed onto the scene with their rock cover of “Lollipop” by Lil’ Wayne. I’ve always been curious if they still enjoy playing that cover and they fell into what I call the “Alien Ant Farm” trap. This trap is where a first major hit is a cover song by an artist that is huge in the mainstream world, once they achieve that success, it is next to impossible to follow up that success with your original material. It happened to Alien Ant Farm, it also happened Framing Hanley, and most recently, Bad Wolves, with their cover of “Zombie” by The Cranberries. Framing Hanley would be on hiatus from 2015 to 2018 when vocalist Kenneth Nixon announced the return of Framing Hanley. On February 21st, Framing Hanley released their album “Envy” via Thermal Entertainment.
The album starts off with kind of a surprise that would remind fans of Highly Suspect or AWOLNation with “Say You Ever”. The piano sets an ominous tone with a darker ambiance as Kenneth croons in the song. It’s an interesting way to start off the album. I like albums that flow together seamlessly, maybe I was expecting the opening song to bleed into the second song entitled “Bubbles”, but it somewhat missed the mark from a transition point of view. The chorus is quite palatable as it provided some quality singalong opportunities for the listener. “Misery” is undoubtedly the the standout track as it deals with depression and mental health issues. The lyric “searching for God at the bottom of a bottle” will hit the listener hard as I feel a lot of people can relate to that. It’s a solid midtempo track.
There are several ballads on the album that will appeal to the listener. Songs of love, loss and finding inner strength are present in the tracks “Joke’s On Us”, “Puzzle Pieces” and “Throwing Knives”. These tracks showcase the maturation of Framing Hanley from a hard rock/post-hardcore band to a more straightforward rock band.
When I want a comeback story, I expect the band to come out swinging, bring back bits of nostalgia for the old school fans while showcasing how they’ve grown during their time away. Framing Hanley showcases growth and maturation with “Envy”, and the album is a solid choice if you are on that long road trip but don’t feel like skipping through tracks. With their lineup changes, Framing Hanley did the right thing by completely evolving their sound, which provides them with a fresh start instead of just another act coming back for nostalgic purposes. Pick up “Envy” at all digital streaming platforms. Here is the track listing:
- Say You Ever
- Joke’s On Us
- Forgiveness Is An Art
- Puzzle Pieces
- The Way Down
- Throwing Knives
- Baggage Claim
Fans can find Framing Hanley at the following locations: