‘If it’s fragile
I think it’s worthwhile
And if you break on me
Well accidents happen…’

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Sunderland’s Frankie & The Heartstrings arrived to play a hastily rearranged gig due to a cancellation in York in typically high spirits. The eponymous Decency from the new album released in July kicked things off, before Frankie launched into a spirited run through of first album favourites Possibilities and Photograph. The latter has always been a live favourite and the band clearly enjoyed playing the song that kicked everything off for them, being the first track from the début album Hunger.

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After finding success with their début album, Frankie & The Heartstrings have been content with putting out well received albums with modest sales as well as running their record shop and record label Pop Recs and Pop Sex respectively. On the musical side of things they have also recruited Futureheads’ Ross Millard on guitar who has fleshed out their sound live and is a bit of a local legend in the North East. The Alan Shearer of indie guitar pop perhaps… although being from Sunderland that is probably a wildly inappropriate connection to make. Maybe Niall Quinn?

Despite latest album Decency only being a few months old, the band played a set heavy with songs from the first two albums with That Girl and I Still Follow being interspersed with chatting with the Diamond Live Lounge crowd about local restaurant San Remo’s. Lead singer Frankie Francis asked the crowd if it is normal for the owner to make you wear wigs and take photographs… Welcome to Doncaster Frankie!

Money and Anna from the new album slotted in nicely among some of the older songs but it was old favourites Hunger and set closer Fragile that still drew the best reaction. Fragile in particular is a song that works even better live than on the album with the agonizing refrain ‘If you’re gonna break down… then just break down’ perhaps best summing up Frankie & The Heartstrings philosophy – we may be a shambles, but at least we are a shambles together.

This article originally appeared in Doncopolitan magazine:

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