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The Franklys: 'Are You Listening?' (Hälta Hälta Records) Release Date – Friday 23rd June 2017

johnny main
Words: Johnny Main

the franklys

If you were lucky enough to catch Australian hard rockers Airbourne on their sell out UK tour last November, then you might have also caught London based Garage rock'n'roll band The Franklys, who featured on some of the dates. This was my first experience of the band and I wasn't disappointed as they battered through their five song set.

Since then it may have been quiet on the surface, but the band have been hard at work on 'Are You Listening?', their debut full length album that promises a mixture of energetic pop rock songs together with garage, punk, indie, hard rock and funk.

Produced by Sean Douglas, Jimmy O and Mikey Sorbello of The Graveltones and the band themselves, they've been trying, and in some ways succeeding, in transferring the raw, raucous energy of their live show and somehow getting that onto the record. Many bands have tried over the years to do this, of course, and some have fared better than others but The Franklys seem to have got the mix just right to produce a credible and enjoyable debut.

Kicking off with 'Castaway' it's a fast and furious number which has a fairly simple chorus that'll have you singing along after very few listens. It has a punky feel to it and the energy coming from the band is almost tangible, and the same can be said of 'Too Tall'.

Bass player Zoë Biggs sets the pace during the intro of 'Puppet' before the drums of Lexi Clark and guitars kick in, in earnest on another fast-paced number. Again, the energy is incredible and you can imagine them letting loose in the studio jumping around and having a ball in the process. Vocalist and guitarist Jennifer Ahlkvist negotiates the jam-packed lyrics well, and it's occasionally hard to keep up with them as they flash past in rapid succession. There's an extended middle section which allows the guitar to shine before the drums pile back in at the chorus.

the franklys

It's not all fast and furious, though, as they demonstrate with the much slower paced 'Keeper'. Don't get me wrong, it may be slower but this ain't no drippy ballad but retains its own power through the grungy guitar sound and the simple but effective drums. If you're looking for something heavy, then 'You Go, I Leave' is definitely the track for you, and it owes something of a debt to Black Sabbath in its heavy sound. Biggs' bass leads in once again and the guitar riff is used sparingly but it's incredibly effective. Ahlkvist comes across really well here with a powerful vocal performance that occasionally has her straining to reach some of the notes, but just shows she's giving her performance everything. Certainly not a fast number but it does motor along at a fair rate.

Later on you have the cracking 'Don't Kill Your Friends', a firm favourite of mine along with 'Imaginarium' with its simple drum intro with the punchy guitar turning it into a slower paced number giving you a different side to the band. There's a more laid back vocal from Ahlkvist which is placed towards the back of the mix so as to let the rest of the music to the fore, and it's a showcase for her fantastic voice – sure she does the punky tracks well enough but she also manages to give a subtle performance when the moment is just right.

For a debut release, like their live shows, there's a lot to like here, and for a band I wasn't aware of six months ago, they've impressed me greatly with their live shows (albeit it a short set) and with this debut release, so with a clutch of upcoming dates announced around the UK, this is one band I highly recommend that you check out if they're playing near you.

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You can see the official video for 'Weasel' here:

You can see The Franklys live here:
Wednesday 24th May: The Full Moon, Cardiff
Thursday 25th May: Cavern, Exeter
Friday 26th May: The Voodoo Lounge, Stamford
Saturday 27th May: The Doghouse, Nottingham
Sunday 28th May: Golden Fleece, Chelmsford
Wednesday 31st May: Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Thursday 1st June: Underground, Bradford
Friday 2nd June: Star Inn, Guilford
Saturday 3rd June: Camden Rocks, London
Wednesday 7th June: Firebug, Leicester
Thursday 8th June: Lending Room, Leeds
Friday 9th June: Fibbers, York
Saturday 10th June: Jumpin' Jacks, Newcastle
Friday 23rd June: Flashback Record Store, London
Friday 7th July: Dirt Quake, King's Lynn
Saturday 8th July: Tannerfest Festival, Loddington
Thursday 20th July: The Lexington, London
Saturday 5th August: Verve Bar, Leeds
Sunday 6th August: Rebellion Festival, Winter Gardens, Blackpool

'Are You Listening?' Tracklist:
You Go, I Leave
Don't Kill Your Friends
Too Tall
Bad News

The Franklys are:
Jennifer Ahlkvist – Vocals/Guitar
Fanny Broberg – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Zoë Biggs – Bass Guitar
Lexi Clark – Drums


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