Sunderland quintet Frankie and The Heartstrings’ debut album Hunger, is a shout back to doo-wop from decades back. It oozes poppy, milkshake-in-a-diner type melodies mixed with the type of innocent romanticisms that make holding hands seem like you’ve hit a home run.
Opening track “Photograph” contains jangling, summer guitar, strolling bass, complete with a thickened Geordie accent – drawing out the end of every naïve lyric. “Ungrateful” sounds a little bit like TV ad, but in a good way. Its melody is driven and its chanted vocals make it irresistibly catchy, but it’s not to say this song is predictable, as a super-charged guitar solo catches you off guard, and leaves you thinking that this band may have more than one trick up their sleeves.
“Hunger” is the album’s highlight; its levels of catchiness are beyond ridiculous. The acappella backing vocals, sugary guitar, and heavy, heavy northern accent ensure this song will be stuck in your head for days. It’ll drive you mad.
“Fragile” breaks things down, while “Tender”’s acapella opening is as cheesy as it is impressive, but it bursts back into to the band’s trademark fast pop. “The Postcard” is another one to add to the would-be Happy Days soundtrack. While all these songs are very catchy, none of them really break away from the mould that the band has set. Which might not be so bad, but if you like an album with real variety then this probably isn’t for you.
It remains to be seen if Frankie and The Heartstrings are just another one of the NME hype acts that we see light up and fade away. Hunger is a debut album that will win over many hearts, with its innocent charms and candy-coated rhythms. Those with a sweet tooth will adore this album; anyone else may find this as irritating as any other over-exaggerated indie band, it’s a fine line between the two, but love it or hate it, it’ll get stuck in your head.
Review Score: 7/10