Words: Paul Page
We had no right to expect this. At a stage in their career when most other bands are already on their second comeback tour or mining the back catalogue for all it’s worth, The Frank & Walters have delivered an absolute belter of an album, sounding as fresh and vital as ever.
From the opening bars of the instant classic ‘Indie Love Song’ to the surging, anthemic closer ‘The Clock’, Greenwich Mean Time is an album crammed with memorable hooks and timeless songs, recalling an era when pop music really mattered. The Franks have been making music for over twenty years now – they arrived on the scene steeped in the history of some of the greatest pop music of the eighties. Their rise was meteoric, culminating in a top twenty hit in the UK and an appearance on Top of the Pops. They were the local boys made good, and their goofy, playful image and joyously, heartfelt pop songs made us love them all the more.
If there is any justice in the world, this album should see them win a place in the hearts of a legion of new fans – it would be very easy to write off the Franks as yesterday’s men, but on the evidence of this, they are at the peak of their powers. Paul Linehan has always been a vastly underrated songwriter – here he explores themes of loss, hope, the passage of time and what might have been, all wrapped up in the kind of hummable melodies that have been the trademark of the band over the course of six albums.
There are pop gems at every turn; ‘If I’d Known’ with its sly reference to the Smith’s ‘Death of a Disco Dancer’, the exuberant rush of ‘Trust in the Future’ and the wonderful ’20 Years’ are just three highlights from an album of many. Prepare to fall in love with pop music all over again – this is a triumphant return for one of the best Irish bands of the last 20 years.