The Franklys – Are You Listening? (Halta Halta Records)
The Franklys - Are You Listening?

Release Date: Out Now

For those relatively new to this humble blog, The Franklys are a group I’ve been championing for a while and here we (finally) are at the release of their debut album – and it’s glorious. In a year when anger has reached fever pitch people need a release for their frustrations, ‘Are You Listening?’ comes as a perfect conduit for that latent rage. Opening with ‘Castaway’, the menacing vocals and urgent beat gives you a hint at what this is going to be all about but when the full force of squalling guitars is unleashed you realise that the aforementioned hint was just the tip of a huge, black iceberg. The garage guitar chug of ‘Weasel’ takes things in a Queens of the Stone Age direction and you can’t help but want to drive somewhere fast with the windows down and your shades on – just to cause some trouble, shake things up. On ‘Puppet’ there’s a really pleasing bass rumble that is matched only by the repeated riot girl gang vocals in the chorus that insist “you never wanted me”.

The Franklys - 4 women, 1 giant foot
After that furious opening trio of songs you might expect some respite and ‘Keeper’ opens reassuringly slowly but the intensity spreads like fire through this song until you can see the headlights from the Mustang on the painted white lights of Route 66. The hypnotic vocal melody and the slithering guitars are pure rock’n’roll in their darkest form and it is glorious in every sense. The direct ‘You Go, I Leave’ is almost Alice Cooper theatrical in its rock cabaret as it lurches through the room like a drunk madam just about holding it together, whip in hand. Meanwhile, the solid advice of ‘Don’t Kill Your Friends’ is delivered atop a thrashy, bratty slice of pop-grunge  that would get most people’s attention if you heard it bleeding out of a dive bard on a dark night. A live show from the Franklys is a delight that has thus far evaded me but tunes like ‘Too Tall’, with its stabbing percussion and buzz saw guitars, would surely make it a chaotic and hedonistic experience.

Things take a turn for the menacing on ‘Imaginarium’ as the dystopian guitars and haunting vocals remind me of the fabulous September Girls or Berries, both contemporaries of the Franklys. ‘Comedown’ returns to the main road of foot-to-the-floor garage punk with growling guitars and those insistent vocals taking you to task – “where’s your passion? Where’s your soul?” they sing without waiting for your feeble answer. This, frankly, outstanding debut offering does a mic drop moment with ‘Bad News’ as the quartet leave in a hail of machine gun drums followed by the death knell feedback fade out of a band that have already left to find a party. So, as debut albums go, this is impressively strong not just for what is captured on these 10 tracks but for the promise this band shows and how far they could go. Right now, they have explored a few corridors but they have the ability and, I think, the will to go deeper, darker, heavier and louder if that’s possible. There will be no coming back though, there never is.

Live Dates:

23rd June – Flashback Records Store, London
30th June – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton
7th July – Dirt Quake, King’s Lynn
8th July – Tannerfest, Loddington
20th July – The Lexington, London w/Skinny Girl Diet
5th August – Verve Bar, Leeds
6th August – Rebellion Festival, Blackpool w/Bad Religion + Slaves + Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes