Framing Hanley just dropped their first album in six years, Envy and it's a doozy. It's weird to say that a mainstream rock record is a throwback, but that's what Envy is. It's a record that as is - it's awesome - if it was released in 2008 everybody would be talking about it. Still, Envy is a tremendous listen and a record that any fan of rock music should pick up and listen to.
Why's Envy so good? The simple reason is because these songs are the best songs that Kenneth Nixon and his band have ever wrote. They're incredibly strong melodically, and their structures - while they follow the mainstream rock formula closely – they still manage to do bits and pieces different to stand out. Songs like "Carousel", "Throwing Knives" and "The Way Down" each have different structures melodically in verses and/or choruses and Nixon's vocal makes them instantly memorable because of it. Outside of the songwriting, the production across Envy is interesting. I'll admit that I wasn't blown away after listening to the first couple of songs, but they manage to establish the sound of the record in a meaningful way. The drums aren't overly powerful, and the guitars aren't as thick as they used to be on records like this - and they're not meant to be. The instrumentation is scaled back a bit so Nixon's vocal can stand out more, which was a wise decision. It allows the melodies to really speak in these songs and the album is better for it.
Envy is an awesome rock record released in 2020 instead of 2010. Regardless of exposure, this record is an album that Framing Hanley should be supremely proud of. If you’re a fan of Framing Hanley, then this is an instant listen. The same can be said if you’re a fan of mainstream rock music. Maybe this record won’t do as well as it would have a decade ago, but who knows? Maybe this record helps bring mainstream rock back to the masses. Either way, it’s worth checking out.