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Frankie & The Heartstrings

Having met in early 2009 over a mutual appreciation of cocktails (lead singer Frankie Francis worked in a pub frequented by drummer Dave Harper and guitarist Michael McKnight), Sunderland indie romantics Frankie & the Heartstrings made a miraculous leap from unknowns to Wichita Recordings hopefuls in little over a year. Joined by second guitarist Pete Gofton -- brother of Lauren Laverne of Kenickie and BBC fame -- and bassist Dennis Mennis, the five-piece was ready and able to build up a loyal and vast following on the back of a couple of singles that blended energetic guitar jangles with boyish charm and sharp melodies.

Seeing them play one of their famously engaging sets in the neighboring city of Newcastle -- after only a couple of months of locally scattered shows -- was enough to convince Wichita to offer the band a management deal. Soon enough, they were also receiving attention from none other than Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis, who agreed to put out a limited run of 777 7"s of single "Tender" with no strings attached (no pun intended), while they also released 888 copies of the same release on their own Pop Sex Ltd label. Following shows alongside North-East angular punk outfit the Futureheads, the group's momentum saw them sign completely to Wichita in April 2010 and play festivals such as Glastonbury, Latitude, and the Reading and Leeds weekend. Meanwhile, guitarist Mick Ross replaced Pete Gofton, who had decided to concentrate more on production duties.

In October 2010, Frankie & the Heartstrings duly released 999 copies of the single "Ungrateful." Not content with having Frankie Francis compared to Edwyn Collins by critics, the band were blessed with having the ex-Orange Juice frontman produce the track. They then embarked on a U.K. tour with fellow indie popsters Summer Camp before returning to work on their full-length debut for Wichita/Pop Sex. The album, titled Hunger, was released in February of 2011. In 2013, the group followed up with their sophomore effort The Days Run Away. ~ Daniel Clancy, Rovi
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