by Bill Pearis

Frankie and the Heartstrings

Dubbed the "sound of young Sunderland", the band look like a gang, and their painfully tight drainpipes justify their claim to have the "best trousers in pop". Just as important, they have a clutch of anthems made to learn and sing. Their stomping sound - which is surely scientifically impossible to dislike - dips into Dexys circa Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, mid-period Clash, 60s pop, Orange Juice, northern soul, romance and literature without loitering anywhere. Tender begins with an a cappella routine about reading F Scott Fitzgerald, and turns into a dancefloor pounder. Smash-in-waiting I Wrote This Song With You in Mind sounds like Wearside's answer to Blondie's Heart of Glass.

Such tunes transform the initial hush into a party atmosphere of smiling, sing-alongs and whooping. One couple start waltzing, while another girl risks flouting the indecency laws by patting the gyrating singer on his bottom. A former mobile DJ and hospital radio football commentator, Francis starts the bittersweet stomp of Fragile in the middle of the audience and ends it with people lining up to shake his hand. [The Guardian]

Frankie & the Heartstrings make their first visit to America this week for CMJ, playing Littlefield on Tuesday, October 20 at 9PM, and The Delancey on Wednesday, October 21 at 11:45PM.

The "smash-in-waiting" song the Guardian live review from April mentions above has since been titled "Ungrateful" and is Frankie & the Heartstrings new single, produced by Edwyn Collins. You can watch its video at the bottom of this post. The Dexys comparisons are pretty spot-on. Longtime Anglophiles might recognize keyboardist Pete Gofton from his days drumming for '90s band Keneckie.

The Littlefield show features a two other  up-and-coming UK acts: Chapel Club (dark, widescreen pop somewhere between Scott Walker and Kitchens of Distinction) and The Good Natured (aka ethereal dance-pop artist Sarah McIntosh).

The Delancey show on Thursday is the Wichita/Saddle Creek showcase, with Frankie & the Heartstrings sharing the stage with their mates Sky Larkin, Swedish duo First Aid Kit, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson and more.

All Frankie & the Heartstrings 2010 tour dates (CMJ and otherwise), plus some music videos, are below.


Frankie & the Heartstrings - Hunger

Frankie & the Heartstrings - Fragile

Frankie & the Heartstrings - Ungrateful

Frankie & the Heartstrings - 2010 Tour Dates
20/10/10 - Brooklyn, USA at Littlefield
21/10/10 - New York at The Delancey
04/11/10 - Brighton at Komedia
05/11/10 - Oxford at 02 Academy 2
06/11/10 - Leeds at Brudenell Social Club
07/11/10 - Glasgow at Oran Mor
09/11/10 - Newcastle at Cluny
10/11/10 - Manchester at Deaf Institute
12/11/10 - Amsterdam at Paradiso
15/11/10 - Koln at King George