Beauty Becomes More Than Life
By: Robert H.
It's been ten years since The Frank and Walters formed in its native Cork, but the band has failed to make any noticeable impact in the US, despite having just released its third album of catchy-as-hell pop songs. The reason, one suspects, is that this band would've been more prone to mass acceptance in 1988 when bands such as A-House, James, and U2 were making indelible impressions upon American youths. Despite the fact that Beauty Becomes More Than Life was heralded by NME as “music for the 21st century”, it only affirms The Frank And Walters’ late eighties peerage. Here we have thoroughly orchestrated, catch-and-chorus pop with an able vocalist (Paul Linehan) and a backing band but with nothing much new to offer.
Now, there is nothing wrong with a straightforward pop band, and on the first listen The Frank And Walters is bound to win you over. The music is blatantly accessible, and The Frank And Walters knows how to assemble the elements from the hit-kit. The lyrics are banal afterthoughts ("Stop/ It's much to soon it's much too late/ I've taken all that I can take/ Well you can pray and pray and pray/ I won't be coming back today." Umm….), but they don't trouble the flow of the songs, and the hooks sink in before the tunes end. The melodies develop just enough to keep you listening and the performances lack the pretension that will surely cause U2 to rot in hell. The Frank And Walters offers the saccharine basics but little else.
The true test of an album, however, is staying power, and here I have my doubts about Beauty Becomes More Than Life. By the third listen, one understands exactly what's going on, and there appears to be nothing much beneath the topsoil to keep the attentive listener going. It falls away into that heap of albums you'll only listen to in the car or when something else is demanding the majority of your attention. Don't get me wrong: you've got to have bands that make soundtracks for films and backgrounds for daily chores, and this band does it as well as any. I'll probably even buy another one of its albums. I've got a 10-CD changer in my trunk, after all.