To my ears the Sunderland / Durham / Newcastle accent when sung by male indie groups sounds the same. I know this is ridiculous but perhaps I am so swept away by the romance of a NE accent that I totally forget to listen for any defining qualities. Maximo Park were noticeably not The Futureheads because their music was much spikier, but when new Sunderland band Frankie & The Heartstrings came along last year I had a quick listen to their not very interesting debut single ‘Fragile’ and promptly put them into my forgettable, I’ll just listen to the Futureheads if I want that, box.
The first disappointment came because it’s very easy to assume things based on the first things you see about a band which are normally their name and their first promo shot. The worst thing at the moment is every band under the sun sending over some glitzy, polysexual photo that inspires you to click on their myspace, only to discover utter twaddle when it comes to the music. For Frankie & co, there was an awful, although at least not faux-gay, promo shot (see above) but the name conjured up images of beehives, quiffs, a rock & roll high school and soaring strings. ‘Fragile’ totally didn’t tick that box.
It’s good work on their part then that their second single ‘Tender’ is much more exciting and retro sounding complete with point winning hand claps. Dancable and infectious, the video totally endears them to me and the idea of someone who ‘feeds you milk and gives you wine’ sounds like a winning combo. Plus I love a frontman who doesn’t have an instrument to hide behind, yet has the ability to jump about looking silly and like he’s actually digging his own music. Can someone organise a Frankie vs Friendly Fires’ Ed McFarlane dance off please.
(It still sounds like The Futureheads)