Metal Frames



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Review Text Split Single is a project led by Chicago-based musician Jason Narducy, an indie rock journeyman whose résumé includes stints with Verbow, Robert Pollard, Bob Mould, and Superchunk, among others. The group made its debut in 2014 with Narducy backed by drummer Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Mountain Goats) and bassist Britt Daniel (Spoon) on Fragmented World, an appealingly melodic guitar pop record that brought together a myriad of musical sensibilities culled from its author's colorful career. Two years later, a slightly retooled Split Single follows up with Metal Frames, this time offering up a toothy power pop set with Wilco bassist John Stirratt taking over Daniel's former role. As good as their debut was, Metal Frames' tenacity and overall streamlined feel really bring out the best in Narducy's work. Early standout "Glori" opens the album, combining riffy fuzz pop with a strident Isolation Drills-era Guided by Voices appeal and some strong vocals from Narducy. Lead single "Untry Love" quickly follows, with its marvelous hand-clap-assisted chorus and sparkling guitar work, making it the catchiest track of the bunch. While the dynamics shift from song to song, the highlights keep coming with "Still Invisible," "White Smoke," and "Perilous Pill" all lined up to deliver what is essentially a power pop clinic. As a rhythm section, Wurster and Stirratt are certainly in their wheelhouse and Narducy's tunefully rasping vocals cut through the mix like a blade. Fans of Narducy's earlier projects or of pretty much any of the bands he's played sideman in are likely to find something they like in Metal Frames which easily improves upon its predecessor. ~ Timothy Monger

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