Single Frame’s Body/End/Basement is a thoughtfully crafted hodgepodge. Over the album’s seventeen tracks — which, in sum, last just more than thirty minutes — the Austin-based trio builds a cohesively creepy ambience by mixing a variety of synth, guitar and found sounds (vocals delivered underwater, pocket change, washing machines). The album is an acquired taste, but it’s definitely worth acquiring.
The band’s 2002 debut, Wetheads Come Running, was praised for its experimental songs that also had appealing hooks. The creaky guitar hook on “I’ll Lose Your Balance” is likely to get stuck in your head, but almost nothing on Body/End/Basement could be appropriately described as catchy. With the synth crunch of “Exact Copy of This in the Basement” and the stop-start guitar noise build-up on “The Flying Circus,” Single Frame sensibly evokes the Faint and Sonic Youth over a five-minute span. Whereas many bands use the same tools repeatedly to paint in different colors, Single Frame does the reverse, using a different set of brushes to produce similar shades.
Body/End/Basement, the band’s third release, comes with a DVD containing nine videos of songs from the album. Created mostly by different members of the Austin-based Super! Alright! media collective, many of the videos have a similar retro/kitsch look and feel. In a few cases, the songs appear incidental to the visuals, but when the videos work, they embody the band’s commitment to multimedia experimentation.