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Set List: Live in Dublin ()

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Set List is the first Frames' release under the Irish roustabouts' domestic distribution deal with Anti, in preparation for a proper studio full-length. It makes sense, the live album release -- the Frames have always made their name on-stage, and Set List will disappoint neither the ardent fan nor curious newcomer. Glen Hansard is a frontman of the beaded, bloody sweat variety, and his mates never get tired of amping the emotion with heart tingling wails of guitar and shrill fiddle. The crowd never tires of it, either -- they shout along with the righteous rock release of "Revelate," hesitate in hushed anticipation for the nearly nine-minute novella "Santa Maria," and coo like contented schoolchildren during the subtle rushes of "Lay Me Down." Hansard proves to be a storyteller of the classic Irish variety, all unassuming humor and prescient asides. His lengthy intro to "What Happens When the Heart Just Stops" (from 2001's For the Birds) is roundabout hilarious, and he lets it fade perfectly into some scattered opening chords before building the song to an absolutely elegiac moment of release. The rambling, deadpan folk-pop of "Rent Day Blues" offers a bit of a reprieve from this sort of soul-baring, but that's only to set up a pair of screeching hymns in "Pavement Tune" and "The Stars Are Underground." As the Frames are criminally underappreciated in the States, Set List can't quite avoid the patches of second-generation staleness that almost always taint live albums. In other words, you had to be there. But it still substantiates the Frames' reputation for punctuating passion with peels of feedback, making it recommended listening for the initiated and novice alike. ~ Johnny Loftus, Rovi Hide synopsis

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