The Gainesville, Florida-based quintet's sophomore studio long-player and their first outing for Converge frontman Jacob Bannon's independent Deathwish label, Smother is a sneaky, sinister, and occasionally transcendent bit of business that finds the boot-scuffed middle ground behind screamo and post-punk. Frameworks' particular brand of melodic post-hardcore has drawn a lot of comparisons to California's Touché Amoré, but where the latter band distills its myriad aches and pains into angular, shoegaze-kissed emo-punk exorcisms, Frameworks' willingness to go super aggressive is evenly matched by their willingness to go wide-screen. Much of the aptly named Smother is spent in the hardcore trenches, with frontman Luke Pate's nervy, largely monotone screaming keeping pace with the workmanlike aural assault behind him, but as the album progresses, so does the composition style. Opener "Fear of Missing Out" and the hook-laden title cut come out of the gate swinging, but the compelling "Purge," while also meaty, sees the band beginning to paint outside the lines. More post-rock than post-punk, Smother's more expansive moments suggest Sunny Day Real Estate by way of British Sea Power; a storm front propelled by ghostly, reverb-laden guitars and sweaty, twenty-something despair. What's most impressive is that the band is able to so consistently marry the two persuasions, and it's that knack for sonic equilibrium that gives standout tracks like "Tangled," "Smothered," the aforementioned "Purge," and the epic closer "New Narcissistic American Dream," the charge they need to rise an inch or two above the largely inert post-hardcore waterline.