Frames is what happens when you are introduced to top 40’s pop by your young mother, and then grow up curating your own eclectic taste in music from folk to metal. Sarah Phung has been drawing from any genre available to create a sound that is palatable but not cookie cutter.
Her debut EP, Cursed, is a short and sweet selection of songs written about fleeting crushes and broken relationships. Believing firmly that love, whether romantic or platonic, is the core of a person’s identity, Frames is a platform through which Sarah can communicate and narrate her experiences in hopes that others will relate to the words and find comfort in the sounds. The making of the EP was simple but deliberate; with only one guitar and rhythmic bass lines, the catch is in the vocal harmonies that wrap themselves around the melodies.
Her first singles, “Stay” and “Hell”, gave a dynamic introduction to a small voice with a lot to say. While “Stay” conveys desire and longing, “Hell” is the heartbreaking ballad of someone who is hanging onto an unhealthy situation by a thread, aware of having their own boundaries pushed but too codependent to let go. Almost acting as a part 2 to “Hell”, “Vase” shares the same subject, existing at a later time at which point the singer has accepted defeat, but still shows concern for her destructive ex lover. There is a lot of emotional whiplash between the opening track, “House Show”, about wanting to spend meaningless time with a lighthearted crush from a party, to the exit track, “Last Year”, a song about a made up person with only two verses and no hooks, the first word being the EP title. “Burden” is an outlier, written about nobody in particular, rather a string of grievances from several past relationships but expressing sympathy when looking back.
Since the release of Cursed, Frames has been blooming into a full band with a permanent lineup, beginning with Carter Wahl writing lead parts that bring a whole new sound.