Action Frank are a pop punk trio from Houston, Texas. “Coming Up For Air,” released in November 2021, is the band’s third album and first release in over five years.
The band are a powerhouse for a three-piece. Their unique song structures are complex, pop-driven, fast-tempo and upbeat, somewhat reminiscent of early Fat Wreck bands.
The talented musicians in this band are worth mentioning. The guitar is tight and very crisp. The drumming is fast and consistent, and the bass guitar throughout the album is off the hook. The gritty vocals are well done and distinctive, at times layered with harmonies and back-up vocals.
Coming Up For Air kicks off with “Intro,” an audio clip from the 1988 film “Coming to America” featuring Louie Anderson. I’m a sucker for movie audio clips, especially when they are rounded out by a thrash, speed punk instrumental.
“Move Back to Houston” is probably my absolute favorite song on the album. A love song about a guy who misses a girl who moved away. He encourages her to move back to Houston with him after she leaves for Cincinnati. A very upbeat tune with a chorus that will have you singing along the first time you hear it. My favorite line in the chorus is “Everything you want, nothing that you got, is all right here with me.” This song is a definite hit.
The album is full of catchy punk rock riffs that display the band’s vast influences and musical talent. The song “Just Give Up Already” kicks off with what reminds me of a NOFX/Propaghandi sounding speed punk riff that transforms into a pop punk love song.
“Heading Home” is a really good tune questioning love and life in a classic breakup/relationship song. The amazing part of this song is that the only instrument throughout is the bass guitar.
“Smoke and Mirrors” begins with a sweet bass riff, followed by an introduction consisting of a wicked drum beat and single note power chord guitar strums. After a snare drum four count you are hit with a wall of punk rock awesomeness. In my mind, this is where I would involuntarily jump into the mosh pit if I was watching this song being played live.
The title track “Coming Up for Air” rounds out the album with an energetic, motivational hit. The song describes taking charge of your life, picking yourself up and living life the way you want to live it. “Take these cinder blocks off my ankles, I’m coming up for air.”
I’m fairly new to hearing Action Frank, but they have become an instant favorite and are at the top of my playlist since the release of this album. Their style is so unique and memorable that I can’t help but wonder what the future holds for these guys.