H unger is the debut album of indie rock band Frankie & the Heartstrings. The quintet from Sunderland, England, have already enjoyed plenty of exposure through singles and gigs since the band formed in 2008. The energetic album offers a solid 10 tracks - but it is unmistakably a first attempt.
The album opens with the vigorous Photograph, followed by the similarly anthemic Ungrateful. These tracks typify the band's indie rock fare: expect the standard sharp guitar riffs, raw sounds and wry lyrics. At times, the rawness is overdone, and singer Frankie Francis' delivery is nothing special.
However, the overall energy of the songs sets the band apart on the burgeoning indie scene. Despite dealing with themes of loss and frustration, the album is consistently upbeat. Ungrateful ends with Francis yelping, 'I wrote this song with you in mind,' with a desperation that is self-consciously playful. Tight percussion and cheerful melodic hooks work perfectly with Francis' vocals to keep the album from falling into melodrama.
Many of the tracks hark back to older music styles, with clear influences from the 50s. While there are no real stand-outs, the sense of untapped potential here leaves the listener with hopes for something great in the future.