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Paul Newman
Frames Per Second
Trance Syndicate

As you already might have figured out: this is not the recording debut by "the other ol' blue eyes"; the Butch Cassidy of the filmmaking world, despite the moving images reference of the album title. Actually, this is an Austin, TX quartet with one Paul A. Newman in the line-up. Together with his comrads, Craig McCaffrey, Edward Robert, and Tony G. Nozero, the band Paul Newman present a collection of noisy, rhythmic songs slightly related to Trans Am, Mogwai and such. Which means: lyrics limited to a minimum.

Frames Per Second starts off with the eight-minute-plus Elements Of Style which is sort of sneaky and spooky, before presenting rather metallic, limp-rhythmed breaks, almost being industrial and sounding (slightly) gothic. Sometimes they almost step into experimental, jazzy territories. On The Real Pro they've become more like modern, alternative rock, with a Steve Albiniesque drum sound. Paul Newman do remind me of Trans Am, but without the blippety-blop low-budget synthesizers. And when listening closely to their way of arranging their songs, post-rockers Tortoise comes to mind. In song three they're starting to explore Cosmos, with a song called Carl Sagan, the first with vocal parts. Do we sense some humour somewhere in there?

There's lot of anger in their music, but they're far from being rabid. Still, they do like to noise. Wild, but yet controlled. Midway through Work To Do there's a explosive break, with a buzzed-up thunder-bass backed up with some spiffing guitar-noise. Then Astroglide rush off like a wild bee, and they even present their secret synth-weapon. Which is more hilarious than threatening.

The rhythm-section seems to be the core of Paul Newman, with its dominant bass-lines and steady drum-energy. There are lots of start/stop rhythms, as they tend to find new directions within most of the songs. While the guitars are "swarming" around like tactical fighters, surveilling and protecting the mother-ship. To choose a bag for the music of Frames Per Second, I'd say post-rock could be fitting. Or, maybe, as they end their journey with Enter The Empire Of The Ants (the 2nd song containing vocals), post-core? Worth checking out, but I recommend adjusted doses.

Copyright © 1998 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Paul Newman article/review: Only Love Will Break Your Heart.

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