Many punk fans will remember the band Meg & Dia. With a powerful and committed niche audience, the pair of sisters propelled into fame with various appearances on Vans Warped Tour and other gigs around the country alongside fellow pop-punk artists. During this, Dia Frampton chose to gain exposure for her band, pursuing an endeavor on “The Voice” stage where she eventually placed second. Then, following the release of her first solo album, Frampton was eventually dropped from her label. Here the young artist seemed doomed to fall into irrelevancy. But, what appeared to be irrelevancy may have actually been her smartest move to date.
Alongside film score producer, Joseph Trapanese (“Tron: Legacy”), Frampton subtly became a part of the duo, ARCHIS. ARCHIS, a band that combines the orchestrated style of film scoring with the sweet voice of Frampton attempts to create music that is more an experience than a performance. Atmospheric and powerful, the majority of the tracks off their self-titled EP are sonically appealing and consuming.
The lead single, “Blood,” is the perfect example of ARCHIS’s attempts to combine visual art with music. Incredibly well composed, the opening moments from this track sound as though they belong on the silver screen. Beginning intimately with simple instrumentals and Frampton’s soft vocals, “Blood” becomes a climactic masterpiece of grandeur. Its powerful, fight-till-you-die message is both compelling and assertive.
On “Black Eye,” ARCHIS delves closest to a pop-styling. Most like Frampton’s previous work, “Black Eye” is meant to be inspiring. Once again noting that she will never give up, Frampton’s voice is unrestrained. By the song’s closing moments, listeners will witness an unexpected moment of pandemonium that is fierce and enticing.
Trumpets blasting and snares snapping, “Let Me Love,” is a piece of fine art. Through thumping beats and vocals, ARCHIS provides listeners with their most splendid musical creation. Its marching beat and interlaced vocal runs create an atmospheric moment on the EP that will draw in fans and skeptics alike.
“I Need You” adds a welcome dimension of whimsical folksiness onto “ARCHIS” that may have led the EP into a collection of plainness had it not existed. Pleasant and not overly dramatic, ARCHIS’s inclusion of “I Need You,” will satisfy those looking for something more lighthearted or frivolous.
For Frampton and Trapanese the move toward ARCHIS should prove to be a smart one. With the exception of maybe one track, this EP feels like an awakening. It is an aspirational and sophisticated yet entertaining undertaking that both artists should feel proud of.