At the height of their powers in the early 1990s, a visit to London for The Frank and Walters would have perhaps included a television slot on Top of The Pops. In 1992, for example, an unknown band from Oxford, launching their debut album, Pablo Honey, supported The Frank and Walters for the duration of their UK tour.
Much has happened in the 20 years that have passed. The Franks, (as they are affectionately known to their hard legion of followers) became a cult band that put out an album every few years without too much fuss from the music press outside of Ireland, and the band from Oxford? They did all right apparently.
Substituting a BBC television studio, for a dingy basement called The Borderline in Soho doesn’t seem to bother the four Cork men just one bit as they walk on stage tonight. Dressed impeccably in bright orange shirts, with matching ties, these guys have just beaten Interpol in the suave department.
So how do their music match up to their clothes? There is a fine tightrope for groups that play this heart-on-sleeve-indie pop music walk: you either fall flat on your face, and come off looking like a sentimental cheese-merchant, or you bring swarms of fans close to tears as they wave pints of lager in the air and sing like their life depends on the heart-felt anthems you have created. The Franks fall into the latter category.
Maybe it’s the natural, effortless delivery of Paul Linehan’s vocals, or perhaps it’s in the quality of the great pop songs they write. Something this band isn’t short of. The classics include: ‘After All’ and’ This is Not a Song’.
While many of the fans may have come here tonight on a nostalgia trip, new tunes such as ‘Indie Love Song’ and ‘Trust in the Future’ prove that The Franks’ current album, Greenwich Mean Time is as good as anything they have released hitherto.
There are very few pop bands that are in possession of their own football chant, and by the looks of it, we may well continue to hear the chants of “We are, we are, we are, we are, we are The Frank and Walters” for quite some time.