Frankie & the Heartstrings: Hunger – review

(Wichita)

Fittingly, given their doo-woppy name, there's a touch of the 50s to the debut from Sunderland quintet Frankie & the Heartstrings. It's there not just in vocalist Frankie Francis's dramatic swoops and intakes of breath, but also in the street-corner-style chanting on Hunger and the braying saxophone of Want You Back. And the decade's uncomplicated view of romance is often present in couplets such as: "You're pretty as a picture/ So cute I'm gonna kiss ya." You have to listen closely to realise there's more to the Heartstrings than snappy retro tuneage. Scott Walker is referenced in Photograph, while the choppy Fragile shows the influence of producer Edwyn Collins; the deceptively bubbly, xylophone-packed Tender (its title inspired by Tender Is the Night) also owes much to Collins's Orange Juice period. It's a curious mesh, but what ties it together is the band's unquenchable enthusiasm, which makes the album a tonic for winter-dulled spirits.

Contributor

Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

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