Frankie & the Heartstrings: Hunger – review


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.


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
First sight: Frankie & the Heartstrings
They are the Andrew Weatherall-championed sound of young Sunderland: a quintet who only played their first gig last Christmas

Dave Simpson

19, Nov, 2009 @11:45 PM

Frankie & the Heartstrings: Hunger – review
Frankie & the Heartstring's hymn to Orange Juice's music and values is way past its sell-by date, writes Gareth Grundy

Gareth Grundy

20, Feb, 2011 @12:05 AM

Article image
Frankie and the Heartstrings: 'Music needs a bit o' spite'
Frankie and the Heartstrings are the current flag-fliers for the surprisingly fertile Sunderland scene. They tell Dave Simpson how kitchen-sink dramas and the miners' strike are still alive in their music

Dave Simpson

17, Jun, 2010 @10:29 PM

Frankie & the Heartstrings: The Days Run Away – review
Frankie and the Heartstrings' second album has some featureless moments, but when Frankie Francis's personality shines through, it works, writes Caroline Sullivan

Caroline Sullivan

30, May, 2013 @8:45 PM

Article image
Frankie & the Heartstrings (No 632)

Paul Lester: The missing link between angular indie-folk and bootboy stomp-pop, these Sunderland lads' satirical songs pack an emotional punch

Paul Lester

22, Sep, 2009 @3:19 PM

Frankie & the Heartstrings | Pop review
The Leadmill, Sheffield
Frankie Francis is a ready-made pop star, just waiting for an audience, and certainly seems to have the right vehicle in the Heartstrings, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

06, Apr, 2010 @9:15 PM

Frankie Rose and the Outs: Frankie Rose and the Outs | CD review
Brooklyn indie linchpin Frankie Rose has made a joyously nostalgic album that impresses Michael Hann

Michael Hann

07, Oct, 2010 @10:00 PM

Pure X: Pleasure – review
Set the controls for the heart of the mope: Michael Hann hears Pure X indulge in some shoegazing

Michael Hann

25, Aug, 2011 @10:00 PM

Atlas Sound: Parallax – review
Deerhunter's Bradford Cox wins over Maddy Costa with his unearthliness

Maddy Costa

17, Nov, 2011 @11:20 PM

Stereolab: Not Music |CD review
A new set of old recordings does nothing to dispel Maddy Costa's suspicion that Stereolab's music is a hall of mirrors

Maddy Costa

11, Nov, 2010 @11:20 PM