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Video of the Moment #1914: Frankie and the Heartstrings

By on Monday, 14th September 2015 at 6:00 pm

Frankie and the Heartstrings released their third album ‘Decency’ on Pop Sex Ltd. via Wichita Recordings back in July (read my review of it here), and late last week, the Sunderlanders (is that a word?) released the latest promo video from the album.

While the lo-fi presentation of ‘Money’ lacks the sparkle, shine and fancy footwork of previous video ‘Think Yourself Lucky’, the bright horns are still there in ‘Money’, and there’s something wonderfully adorable about this. The lads are messing around in someone’s back garden, barbecuing and recalling those halcyon days when the most technically advanced thing that was available was one of those god-awfully massive Nokia mobile phones. Watch it below.

Past coverage of Frankie and the Heartstrings – featuring both their previous and current line-up – is this way.



Album Review: Frankie and the Heartstrings – Decency

By on Friday, 10th July 2015 at 12:00 pm

There’s always been something delightfully subversive and cheeky about Sunderland’s Frankie and the Heartstrings. Visually, they’re a throwback to the ’50s with their quiffs, and judging from the press shot we got with the review copy of their third album, they’ve all decided to give in to black, if not all leather like the kind from which drummer Dave Harper’s favourite jacket was made. ‘Decency’, Frankie and the Heartstrings’ latest full-length LP effort, was recorded at the end of summer 2014 with the production help of MJ of Yorkshire psych outfit Hookworms. Since the release of the band’s 2013 album ‘The Days Run Away’, there have been significant lineup changes: lead guitarist Micky Ross left, to be replaced by Futureheads‘ Ross Millard (whose booming backing vocals are clearly apparent on this album), and departing bassist Steven Dennis has been replaced by Michael Matthews of Sky Larkin.

Despite the changes in personnel and the announcement earlier this year that the band’s own Pop Rec Ltd. store on Fawcett Street – itself a creative hub run on the principles of the band’s DIY aesthetic – is due to close this summer, it’s with much relief discovering that the overall sound of the Sunlun group has not been compromised, and neither has their ethos. While ‘Decency’ has 12 tracks, it’s worth noting that the first two are under 2 minutes each, and with the exception of four of the remaining nine songs, the others are all well under 3 minutes. Along with never boring the listener, this is well in line with their continuing effort to write the catchy pop song.

Title track ‘Decency’, clocking in at a mere minute and 44 seconds, is a model of efficiency; it’s a good taster to what Frankie and the Heartstrings does the best, as drums and guitars are tight with charismatic frontman Frankie Francis lead vocals, delivered in rapid fire succession as his bandmates back him with football-style chants. When you are write something as catchy at this, who needs a full 3 minutes? Another taut joy is ‘Someday Anna’, where Francis first sounds like he’s speaking next to you, before the song bursts beyond those confines and the horns come back in to add lightness.

A good portion of this album has been developed to keep your pulse racing, with Harper’s driving drumming and unrelenting guitars. Previously unveiled and borderline camp top tune (with a campy video to match) ‘Think Yourself Lucky’ is laden down with the Motown horns and is another example of good songwriting. Frankly, I’d rather listen to this than some over-produced sludge on Radio 1. (Or, sadly, that new song from The Libertines…) Millard’s guitar on the start of ‘Berlin Calls’ is an unexpected treat, before the rest of the song speeds ahead. The note progressions of ‘Balconette’ are some of the best since the Jam’s ‘Town Called Malice’ (just don’t expect this song to pop up in a feel good film about the North East anytime soon). And the herky-jerky style they became famous for on past singles ‘Tender’ and ‘That Girl, That Scene’ makes another appearance in ‘Save It For Tonight’, its syncopated rhythm irresistible.


The listener is afforded a nice change of pace when the band finally decides to slow down. ‘Hate Me Like You Used To’ has a wistful Smiths feel, even with Morrissey-esque non-word warbling to the melody, and massive-sounding guitars. “Life is only as hard as you make it”, Francis croons in ‘Just Not in Love’, but the introspection doesn’t last long, as if all the band members succumbed to itchy trigger finger. And everything is muted for ‘Knife in My Back’, proving that although songs of slower tempo might not their fans’ live favourites, Frankie and the Heartstrings are up there with the best of them.

Here are the potential problems that affect this album’s appeal: not everyone enjoys lyrics being shot at them machine gun style, nor does everyone enjoy a brass section. (If you don’t think the existence of a brass section on this album is real, read this appeal for brass personnel on Facebook.) Personally, I love both so this album is a no-brainer to me, but I can see for others these could grate on one’s nerves. Then again, with the whole LP totalling around 40 minutes, you can’t go wrong with giving this a relatively quick spin. As you should.


‘Decency’, the third album from Sunderland’s Frankie and the Heartstrings, is out today on Pop Sex Ltd. via Wichita Recordings. For all our past coverage on the band, go here.


Frankie and the Heartstrings / October 2015 English Tour

By on Wednesday, 8th July 2015 at 9:00 am

Frankie and the Heartstrings have announced a new list of English tour dates for this autumn, following on from their previously announced July live dates.  The band will release their new album ‘Decency’ this Friday, the 10th of July, via Pop Sex Ltd. and Wichita Recordings.  If you want a sneak preview, you can stream album track ‘Save It for Tonight’ just below the tour date listing.

Tickets for the following shows are available now.  At the end of the tour, Frankie and the Heartstrings will appear at the multi-venue Hackney Wonderland event in East London on the 10th of October.

Previous TGTF coverage of Frankie and the Heartstrings is right back here.

Friday 2nd October 2015 – Hull Adelphi
Sunday 4th October 2015 – York Duchess
Monday 5th October 2015 – Lincoln Student Union
Tuesday 6th October 2015 – Norwich Arts Centre
Thursday 8th October 2015 – Cambridge Portland Arms
Friday 9th October 2015 – Birmingham Sunflower Inn



Frankie and the Heartstrings / July 2015 English Tour

By on Monday, 6th July 2015 at 8:00 am

Sunderland’s Frankie and the Heartstrings – now with a new line-up since the release of 2013’s ‘The Days Run Away’ – have announced a series of live appearances this month to celebrate the release of their third and latest album. ‘Decency’ sees the light of day this Friday, the 10th of July, on the band’s own Pop Sex Ltd. and can be preordered now from Wichita Records.

Friday 10th July 2015 – Newcastle Cluny
Saturday 11th July 2015 – Newcastle Reflex Records (in-store appearance)
Saturday 11th July 2015 – Sunderland Pop Rec Ltd. (in-store appearance)
Sunday 12th July 2015 – Nottingham Rough Trade Records (in-store appearance)
Tuesday 14th July 2015 – London Hackney Oslo
Wednesday 15th July 2015 – Bristol Rise Records (in-store appearance)
Thursday 16th July 2015 – Kingston Banquet Records (in-store appearance)
Thursday 16th July 2015 – Kingston New Slang


Video of the Moment #1811: Frankie and the Heartstrings

By on Tuesday, 26th May 2015 at 6:00 pm

We can now anoint Frankie and the Heartstrings with the title of Sunderland’s nattiest dressers. In their new video for foot stomper ‘Think Yourself Lucky’, they’re all images of lounge lizard loveliness, clearly vying for the title too of the North East’s answer to the Temptations with their smooth moves. And if you like the idea of Frankie Francis romancing a tattoed man in a dress, this video’s for you. (Ha!)

Frankie and the Heartstrings have also just announced today an album launch party at Newcastle Cluny for the 10th of July, when their third album ‘Decency’ sees the light of day. Buy tickets for the event here, and while you’re at it, check out our past coverage of the band, will you?



Video of the Moment #1593 (and more!): Franz Ferdinand

By on Tuesday, 5th August 2014 at 6:00 pm

Scottish rock stalwarts Franz Ferdinand now have a promo video for ‘Stand on the Horizon’, their next single off of ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’, their fourth album released in 2013. According to the press sheet, the song was inspired by frontman Alex Kapranos’ fond memories of growing up in the North East, specifically Sunderland. I can’t explain why the video ends on the beach, after a gold lame-suited version of the group has alighted for the coast with their mostly aged pub fanbase, but who said videos had to make sense? Watch it below.

But wait! There’s “more” in the title of this post, and there is. Frankie and the Heartstrings – a Sunderland band, of course – have covered the single and you can hear their cover below. (Seriously, how appropriate or what?)



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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

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