Frankie & The Heartstrings

Words: Rhys Buchanan

Frankie & The Heartstrings @ The Louisiana, 11th June 2013

You could say that Frankie & The Heartstrings are at the sink or swim stage in their career. The Sunderland tearaways next few releases will undoubtedly determine whether they go on to flourish on the academy circuit, or end up like a long forgotten acquaintance you have to delete from your phonebook. However on June 11th they hit The Louisiana in support of new album ‘The Days Run Away’, and the concensus was that they’ll always hold a place in the hearts of their self described ‘family’.

If there ever was a hybrid of Ian Curtis and Alex from Clockwork Orange, I think it would be Frankie Francis. On the night came a heavy dose of classic frontmanship - seizure like bouts of banging on the ceiling, witty responses to crowd comments, he’s got it all. As the band rumbled through a clutch of new and old material with figures thrashing out down the front, even the most stagnent crowd member could manage a shuffle.

Indie music is all about spontaneity, urgency and foolery; three departments where The Heartstrings easily tick the boxes - be it a mid-gig onstage interview with Big Jeff, or accidentally shocking a few mums by dropping in the word ‘cunt’… this blend of humour alongside rampant footy lad tunes ‘Photograph’ and ‘Hunger’ strung together all the ingredients of a classic Louisiana gig. Alright, so at times feedback is left flying around like a loose canon and there’s also some confusion over differing setlists, these little blunders still worked in their favour.

The band certainly didn’t fall fowl of things to talk about either, having opened up their own record store last week, Frankie murmurs ‘ the store is a big thing for the people Sunderland, there’s a few really decent ones on Bristol’. Yep there sure is pal, maybe you guys could take a few notes? The Heartstrings also exhibited their skills in ‘am dram’ when during the slower ballad ‘Losing A Friend’, we saw floppy fringes emotionally being cast aside and for a moment it even looked like crocodile tears were on the way. Having already honed a unique sound, Frankie’s stage theatrics are getting better upon each return to Bristol, and I wouldn’t be surprised if after another year of exposure they hit that academy level.

Word on the support…


‘Frankie’s a good looking lad, like, not like me, like’ the vocalist mumbles in a thick northern accent, a blunt remark which leaves the audience pissing themselves. Spectrals however are doing just fine without any clear cut aesthetic. On the night it became evident why the press have been championing the band, effectivley delivering Elvis Costello styled vocals with tight-knit rhythm sections; the performance seemed even more impressive when we were informed that the band lost a guitarist the same day due to fraud issues. (Blimey, I know!)

Burning Bandits

Not many bands of such a young age can say they’ve opened for Frankie & The Heartstrings, but locals Burning Bandits seemed completely unfazed by the sense of occasion. Acoustic and electric guitars were combined to whistle home sublime harmonies, quirky vocals also gave the youngsters dynamic a colourful outlook.. and don’t you just love it when great little bands hand out CD’s?