Track after track after track of simply glorious classic AOR that is written and recorded so perfectly that the album sounds timeless. It could have been released as easily in 1987 as it is today.
Like many others following this scene, Work Of Art are part of the new era of classic melodic rock artists. They deliver the best of yesterday, wrapped up in the production and songwriting values of today.
Their first two albums were both wonderful, but I can’t help but feel that they have truly found their own unique groove here.
Yes, the band’s sound is familiar and comparisons to Toto and others can safely be made. But the guys continue to walk their own path.
Framework is, I think, their most accomplished work to date and their most unique.
This album sees the guys turn up the guitars a little and mix the keyboards a little less prominently – but don’t fear – there are several layers of keys in each and every track. That sound is still fundamental to the band’s texture.
The album is also a more uptempo and fast moving affair. It rocks along at a positively cracking pace at times, but all the while still remaining 100% AOR.
Drummer Hermin Furin is the backbone of a stronger sound here, with Robert Sall delivering his best guitar work to date and dare I say it, the most fluent keyboards also.
Vocalist Lars Safsund is in immaculate voice. His tone and style is what I describe as the perfect AOR voice.
The opening track is quite simply AOR gold. Time To Let Go is joyous, catchy as hell, uplifting and a lessen to all in songwriting 101.
How Will I Know continues the fast pace and delivers more glorious hooks and melodies. AOR perfection.
The harder hitting and darker Shout Till You Wake Up is where the band shows their growth as a unit. The song features a nice progressive, moody style that suits them so well. Another killer chorus and keyboards everywhere adds to the delight.
And the mid-late song passage of Toto-esque prog/pop is pure brilliance.
Can't Let Go sees the band delivering another glorious AOR anthem, much akin to the sound of the debut, but with more guitars. Impossibly catchy and fast moving.
Next up are two harder hitting guitar tracks, both sending out messages to a couple of people I’m glad I’m not! How Do You Sleep At Night is yet another fast flowing, highly addictive AOR anthem with an angry heart. I don’t know how these guys do it. Awesome.
Over The Line calls out someone for their lies and bullshit, yet in a supremely catchy, anthemic, classic AOR way. How could you ask for more? The song’s chorus is just so instant.
The Machine sees the guys crank the guitars up one notch further – this is almost a W.E.T style rocker to start, but the big keyboard presence makes it classic Work Of Art. Yet another catchy chorus and fast moving AOR gem.
Hold On To Love is the first point of the album where things seemingly take a breather. Good thing too! This is a happy go lucky breezy Westcoast style song showing the band’s lighter side.
Time for a big sentimental ballad? The opening passage says yes, but then bang! We’re away with another high tempo melodic rocker. And unbelievably, Natalie is yet another killer tune with another big anthemic chorus.
The Turning Point continues the frantic pace, even after the Toto-esque intro.
My Waking Dream closes the album on a lighter note. This is a dreamy, moody ballad with a lot of vocal layering and a definite change of pace from the rest of the album. It’s a perfect closer.
The best part of this album is the ability of the guys to create so many wonderful tracks, yet keep things different throughout the album.
There is not much change to the sound you know and love, yet this album feels more diverse than ever. It’s certainly the band’s most instant record of their career so far.
I found the first two albums required more concentrated listening to delve into the layers beneath the surface. These songs seem so amazingly instant, yet those unravelling layers are still there to ensure continued interest after many many hours of playtime.
I’ve been thrashing this album for weeks and my enjoyment has not diminished one little bit.