Head here to submit your own review of this album.

Frankie & The Heartstrings are a band caught in the middle of trying to still finalize their sound. Their third album, Decency, was released on July 10th. There are catchy hooks, power-pop guitars, horns, and plenty of clichéd one-liners. But something still feels missing. There's no push in this album. There are moments when the band takes it to the next level, but it's not enough to keep the album alive.

Don't get me wrong. They can all play their instruments well, sing, and come up with catchy melodies. But the intensity of the album is all at one level. There's no real ebb and flow. It is apparent they have found a comfort zone, but it is not powerful enough to truly show the obvious talent Frankie & The Heartstrings have.

For instance, the opening track, 'Peterborough Dogs', feels completely out of place. It sounds like they had a tape recorder in the corner of a room the final moments before a performance. This should make for an interesting lead in, but instead just sounds like some barely audible soundbite thrown in last minute. The pulsing bass and driving drums of the second track, 'Decency', are what kick of the record. This would have made for a strong album opener. There's a buildup with the layering of rock guitars and vocals that stirs excitement.

Then, things just kind of stay there. The single, 'Think Yourself Lucky', grooves with punching guitars, horns, and a beat you can dance around to. But at times when it can veer off into something unique, the band pulls back. On 'Save It For Tonight', the band gets a more punk vibe, a la Buzzcocks, and it works for them. But there is still the sense they're holding back.

One of the album's strongest songs is 'Hate Me Like You Used To'. This power ballad has crunchy guitars, stuttering feedback, and a pop-punk anthem sound that gives the album dynamics. The punk vibe is carried over to 'Berlin Calls'. There is a feedback laden guitar solo that reminds the listener these guys started off playing as a garage band. And this album would have been stronger if they embraced that more.

'Balconette' is an example of a song they did right. The surf rock guitars and '50s rock crooning vocals are broken up by syncopated drums between verses and the chorus. Then for the outro, the song gets a pulsing and catchy bass and guitar riff. Playing on their strengths and pushing it paid off.

This album is catchy. There is nothing wrong with writing catchy songs. Melody matters. Listenability matters. But this album feels like priority was put on making sure there were hooks in each song instead of letting the songs form organically. Not every songs needs to sound like it should be a single. If that's how they all naturally turned out then that is great, but forcing something like that on songs feels disingenuous to the listener. Frankie & The Heartstrings show on Decency they know how to write a catchy song. They also show they have more talent up their sleeves than they are letting on. This album should be listened to as a spring board for the band. Next time, they'll be ready to jump in the deep end.

This is the place you'll find reviews from 405 Readers. To join in, head here.