Album Review: Frankie & The Heart-Strings The Days Run Away (Wichita) ***
The second album from the Sunderland quintet wears its retro influences proudly. It's in thrall to the literate indie of the early 1980s as well as the in-your-face rock of the genre's early, pre-Elvis days.
One has to credit the band's desire to dispense with the fat – this 11-track album weighs in at a skinny 32 minutes – and while such a fetish for brevity can lead to some terribly slight material, there are plenty of thrills too.
Everybody Looks Better (In the Right Light) is a giddy slice of guitar pop while Nothing In Our Way is a near perfect marriage of memorable riffs and sloganeering words.
Frontman Frankie Francis is one to watch, but it's Michael McKnight's wonderfully assertive guitar playing that stays with the listener most. It helps that one of the instrument's great exponents, ex-Suede axe-man Bernard Butler, produced the album.
The closing track, Light that Breaks, hints at a future change of direction thanks to sweet female harmonising and lovely orchestration.
KEY TRACKS Nothing in Our Way; I Still Follow You
Day & Night