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Beauty Becomes More Than Life

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Album Review

Beauty Becomes More Than Life sees the Frank & Walters introducing a more electronic, less-organic sound to their emotional pop/rock songs. The band certainly never shied away from keyboards in the past, but this album takes a slight turn from the bombastic guitar reachings of The Grand Parade. Instead of allowing the guitars to overpower a listener during choruses, Paul Linehan's vocals and keyboards now take center stage. The opening track, "Plenty Times," is a perfect example. The song employs a driving force toward a pop epiphany, but instead of layering on pathos at the moment of release, shimmering keyboards and Linehan's brittle vocals take the song toward an even purer pop moment of angelic exaltation. "7.30" shows even further electronic experimentation. Sounding more than a bit like a U2 song, the song jitters and stutters around via sound effects that seem like the work of Brian Eno. If the band's previous material invoked pastoral imagery, Beauty Becomes More Than Life suggests a move toward the city. Fans of previous albums should certainly not be scared that this album is a great departure. The majority of the tracks here would be right at home on The Grand Parade. If anything, the band has augmented its sound, making it more touching, subtle, and affecting. This augmentation is not one of volume or force; it's one of emotion and acceptance of technology. One thing that hasn't changed is the subject matter. "Don't Stop," "Until the End," and most of the tracks here deal with relationships and personal strength. There's no sarcasm or bitterness to go with the stylistic change in the music. Every track sees the Frank & Walters crafting a sweet, uplifting ode to happiness and love. Beauty Becomes More Than Life is another ignored masterpiece from a band making consistently incredible music. [The album was reissued in 2002 by Setanta with a different cover.]


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Frank and Walters are a pop/rock trio hailing from Cork City, in Ireland. They rose to prominence in the early '90s, achieving chart success as part of a movement of young, upbeat guitar pop bands that also included the likes of the Inspiral Carpets (with whom they toured extensively) and the Lightning Seeds, and would influence the burgeoning Brit-pop scene shortly afterward. The Frank and Walters formed in 1990 in the Cork suburb of Bishopstown. The initial lineup consisted of brothers Paul...
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Beauty Becomes More Than Life, The Frank & Walters
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