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It seems Sunderland based band Frankie & The Heartstrings are setting up their own little empire. Set to release their well-awaited third album Decency, out this month on their own label Pop Sex Ltd, they also have their own record shop too. Not drawn to the temptations of larger cities, the band instead put down more roots in the northern UK city, opening their store Pop Rec Ltd in Sunderland’s redundant Tourist Office. Supporting their endeavor, bands including The Vaccines, Franz Ferdinand and James Bay have all played in-store.

Recorded in Leeds at Suburban Homes Studio, Decency sees production from MJ of Hookworms as well as guitar and vocals from new band member Ross Millard of The Futureheads. Following 2013’s The Days Run Away, Decency is jangly indie pop that manages to grab you with introspective moments and considered lyrics too.

“Peterborough Dogs” opens the album with a short lo-fi ditty before going into the title track “Decency” which certainly has the makings of an indie pop anthem. In fact, the majority of the tracks that follow are upbeat, including the bouncy “Think Yourself Lucky”. The summery vibe of the album is also aided by the use of brass instrumentals; the fast paced “Money” is padded out with brass melodies and similarly, later on in the album “Someday Anna” uses brass backing for a fun, upbeat mood.

The lead single “Save It For Tonight” is a lovely jangle-pop track with jerky riffs and abrupt vocal delivery from Frankie Francis. “Hate Me Like You Used To” bears his emotional all; “Say you hate me like you used to, so long, say you hurt me like you used to, stay strong” and “And when I kissed you, you were, and when I held you were, and when I you touched you were, you were so far gone.” Equally emotional “Just Not In Love” seems both scathing and caring with comments like “I’ll always be your family” contrasting with; “Now that push comes to shove, it seems we’re no longer hand in glove, this relationship is on fire, there’s just not love anymore”.

“Knife In My Back” is generally calmer and sparser than the majority of tracks and in that way is a suitable ending track. The third album from Frankie & The Heartstrings is full of angular, jangly guitar, heartfelt yet down to earth lyrics and a new sense of assurance that might in fact, take them further than ever before.

Reviewed by Heather Welsh.

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