Beneath the Bruises, She Rises
Dia Frampton’s sophomore album comes six years after her debut, Red. The 29-year-old has felt the roller coaster of the music industry over the years. In 2011, she was a contestant on the first season of The Voice, topping the charts with several cover singles and later becoming the season’s runner-up. After collaborating with numerous artists — including Foster the People’s Mark Foster and Isom Innis, Florence and the Machine’s Isabella Summers, Never Shout Never and tyDi — it was announced in 2014 that Frampton had been dropped from Universal Republic Records. A year later, Frampton and her new band ARCHIS were signed to Nettwerk Records and released an EP. After some debate, the singer decided to continue her solo career with Bruises, an album that encompasses her journey and sparkles of aspiration.
Free of lyrics, the album’s opening instrumental, “Hope,” brings a cinematic quality that doubles as ambient music. Frampton wants to “stay young forever” on “Gold & Silver,” offering soft, airy vocal flips into falsetto. “Golden Years” focuses on plucked harp strings and violins that could have been an extension of Florence and the Machine’s Between Two Lungs. “Lights” has the delivery of a Coldplay song and “Don’t Look Back” evokes a range of comparisons, from Owl City electronica pop to the continuous theatrical build of Sigur Ros. Frampton applies flicks of her Korean heritage on “Lights” and “Out Of The Dark.” Bold truth and a yearning for ignorant bliss spills out on “Blind.” Frampton croons, “carry on, carry on / what do you say when your chance is gone? / fair enough, fair enough / how do I drain all of this bad blood? / I do the best I can / balancing on the edge / I’ll cover up your eyes / I’ll keep you safely blind.”
The singer certainly takes her “Chances” on Bruises. It is clearly not meant as a comeback album. This is a body of work comprised of an artist’s darkest days and the motivation it takes to move forward. Bruises heal, but Frampton’s closing song says it all: “I don’t wanna get better, I wanna burn like the Fourth of July.”