Frank Booth – Constructs EP – 83%

Constructs cover art

Frank Booth is a 4 piece band from Grand Rapids, Michigan who describe their sound as Post-rock meets shoegaze. The band features ex members of Lights at Sea and Paucity, two other post-rock bands from the Grand Rapids area. With little information on their facebook page, I took to their twitter to find out more about the mysterious band. From there I unearthed that the band has plans for both an EP and a full length album next year and intends to do some touring. Not a bad start.

Even though the band mentions shoegaze in their description the EP is pretty barren of any traces of the genre. There are no vocals to be found on this short 3-track 15 minute EP and their work comes off as thickly distorted post-rock rather than shoegaze. I guess one could make the connection to the shoegaze realm by the band’s use of thickly distorted undertones and layering to bolster their sound. ‘Constructs‘ opens with “Blackout” which kicks off with breakneck drumming and a high-pitched guitar circling out control. My particular favorite moment of this track is the incorporation of ear-piercing guitar screeches towards the end of the track.

Macena” has a much more refined sound and  begins with clean guitar work in the left channel and distorted wailing in the right channel and an ultra thick layer of bass in the middle head space as drums keep a rhythmic beat. As the track progresses the two sides shift just before giving way to a quieter moment on the song, or a moment of clarity if you will. Drums push the pace as the track gears up for a big post-rock finale and guitars rev up one final time for the big push. A well executed and tight sounding track.

The EP comes to a close with “How to Breathe Fire”, which occupies nearly half the EP’s length at around seven and a half minutes long. In this track spiraling crescendo guitars come and go as the layering underneath plays a mellow tune. As expected distorted guitars appear about a minute into the track but at a much more relaxed level and pace that spans throughout the entire track. This is by far the band’s best work and shows their musical range and serves as a proving point that the band doesn’t need to rely on heavy distortion as a crutch. Bass is extremely prevalent and plays a big part in Frank Booth’s sound throughout the EP and is never lost in the mix. This can most likely be attributed to the fact that the guitars and drums were recorded live.

In so many ways this album feels a lot like X Suns self titled release they put out earlier this year which also employs the philosophies of heavy distortion meets creative, explorative and spacey guitar work. Sonically the tones on the EP are great but as with any self release the equalization is missing that fine level of engineering polish that we’ve been spoiled on by the likes of genre giants Russian Circles and Explosions in the Sky. Still, the EP holds its own and is a great starting point for a new band whose members have a proven history of musical prowess and moderate success in the post-rock genre. 10-26-12

Pay what you want on bandcamp: http://frankbooth.bandcamp.com/