Here we have Anglo-Swedish quartet The Franklys and their debut album, 'Are You Listening?' Well, are you listening? Good... for, quite frankly, this is an infectiously energetic, no-frills slab of organically crafted, punk-edged garage rock. With a playing time of just under 34 minutes, the fat-free, succinct compositions never overstay their welcome, as the album rattles through its relatively short duration. It all seems to be over in a flash... which is a positive quality, I hasten to add.
To be honest, there's nothing new to be heard here. It's thoroughly derivative. However, these four ladies compensate for their wholly unoriginal approach with some great songwriting and a discernible enthusiasm. Influences? I can hear Billy Idol overtones in album opener 'Castaway'. And the following track, 'Weasel', sounds like a lost Richard O'Brien composition. However, apart from fleetingly random comparisons, there's a general L7, The Runaways and early Blondie vibe running through a number of the other tracks. And then there's a prominence of The Hives about it all... in fact, 'Keeper', in parts, sounds very much like their own take on said Swedes' 'Tick Tick Boom'. It's all very retro, for sure, across a diachrony of rock/garage/punk inspirations, but musical trends are cyclical, right? And there'll always be fresh ears discovering sounds of yore through new acts. The Franklys, in this sense, fulfil such a flag-bearing cause.
The album's production, mix and mastering is worth a mention here, too. It has a neat organic polish. That is to say, it has enough raw qualities to be apt for The Franklys' genre affiliations, yet it's simultaneously wrapped up in a nicely resonant overall sound that doesn't in any small way compromise songs' raw energy. Lo-fi, almost warm, fuzzy, surf rock guitar sonics characterise some passages, but with enough of a raucous kick elsewhere to drive songs into harder-hitting territory.
If you thrive on no-nonsense, unpretentious, energetic raw garage rock with discernible punk influences, then The Franklys debut is most definitely for you. It's derivative and unoriginal, that's indubitable; although, taken on its own merits, this really is rather good.
Hälta Hälta Records
ARE YOU LISTENING?
Review by Mark Holmes
23rd June 2017
5) You Go, I Leave
6) Don't Kill Your Friends
7) Too Tall
10) Bad News
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...an infectiously energetic, no-frills slab of organically crafted, punk-edged garage rock."