Framauro -
My World Is Ending

(CD 2022, 47:29, Lynx Music LM209CD)

The tracks:
  1- My World Is Ending(6:11)
  2- Records From My Shelf(4:15)
  3- Living In The Shadow Of The Death(7:10)
  4- Hey Yoy Fools!(6:20)
  5- When Idols Are Gone(5:22)
  6- I Am Only The Moment(5:35)
  7- CV Not For Sale(5:04)
  8- What's Happened?(7:32)

Lynx Music

Before Millenium there was Framauro. Originally a bedroom project of the prolific Polish multi-instrumentalist Ryszard Kramarski (Millenium, tRKproject), they recorded two albums in the late 1990s, one professionally, the first less so, before morphing into stalwarts of the Polish progressive rock scene. Now the name returns with Kramarski at the helm, aided by associates Marcin Kruczek (tRKproject) on guitars, Krzysztof Wyrwa (Millenium) on bass and Grzegorz Fieber (Loonypark) in the drum seat.

So why resurrect this project now with a new lineup? Part of the answer may lie in the overarching theme of the collection which is a reflection on the music of the time, sparked by the existential crisis of My World Is Ending announced by portentious organ swirls, power chords, Kruczek's soulful guitar work and a hat tip to 90s electronica. It is also in the arrangements perhaps a collection which would not necessarily sit easily within any of the other projects and provides an outlet for a wider exploration of musical influences - in the case of Records From My Shelf a literal namecheck of pretty much anything which might grace the shelves of a gentleman of a certain age where Abba, Duran Duran and Frankie Goes To Hollywood all rub record sleeves if not shoulders with Dream Theater, King Crimson and Jethro Tull. It's a fun track and not just to spot the names, but also to lay out a musical statement. If the mask slips a little on Living In The Shadow of Death, a classic Millenium style slow reflective ballad, it still takes us in new directions, the guitar work managing to be reminiscent of both Pink Floyd and Dire Straits which must be some achievement in itself.

While the overall mood is reflective, Hey You Fools! Brings a bit of welcome 70s/80s style political anger and invective to express frustration at modern global events. I note that this was released at the very beginning of the year, so one can only imagine how it would come out today. The second half opens in low reflective mood, a litany to those famous names no longer with us from Lennon to Winehouse, but grateful to have known their music. Another coruscating guitar solo pays a handsome salute. This side is lyrical, melodic and reflective, weighted towards the anthemic ballad, though retaining a very human touch and avoiding the portentiousness that can grate elsewhere. Perhaps this section lacks somewhat in tonal variety, but it is worth it for the finale of What's Happened? a glorious cinematic landscape of hopelessness.

In all this is a surprisingly fresh sounding collection, for all it's darker themes. The lyrics by Zdislaw 'The Bat' Zabierzewski are tastefully reflective, the arrangements are accessible and not too challenging, though the musicianship always displays it's pedigree. I'm not sure whether Framauro will get another dusting off as a brand, but this excursion was well worth the effort.

***+ Andrew Cottrell

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