Before Frankie & His Fingers broke up in 2010, the trio of guitarist and singer Frank McGinnis, drummer Sammi Niss, and bassist Adam Stoutenburgh were the stars of a homegrown scene in New York’s Hudson Valley. Recorded largely at McGinnis’ home in Poughkeepsie, New York, Universal Hurt, out March 26 through SubFamily Records, sounds like a group of friends reconsidering their original spark.
New Noise Magazine is proud to premiere “Sad To Let You Down Like This” below:
On the inspiration behind “Sad To Let You Down Like This,” McGinnis states:
“3 minutes and 40 seconds of jangle-pop that confronts the disappointments and consolations of adulthood. It’s a song about the boundaries of self-reflection, the tricky line between healthy self-critique and indulgent neurosis. The track started as a demo with a single guitar, vocal, and handclaps but was itching to become the jaunty number it is now.”
Since forming as a guitar/drums duo at Bennington College in 2004, their nervy indie rock had drawn comparisons to classics like the Talking Heads as much as to their contemporaries in groups like The Get Up Kids and The Anniversary. On widely-pirated releases like One Hell of a Skeleton and Hell Broke Loose, McGinnis wrote witty, wordy, and at times acid-tongued stories of loneliness and heartbreak over a razor-sharp guitar and springy rhythm section interplay. They sounded like a band about to break out, and they very nearly did.
But life made other demands. Stoutenburgh went back to college, McGinnis explored ‘80s kitsch and folk-rock in a plethora of other bands, and Niss sits behind the kit for acts as various as Real Estate and Laura Stevenson, as well as her pursuing own solo work in Hiding Behind Sound. The band stayed close and made various stabs at getting back together over the years, including a sold-out reunion show in 2013. With the addition of long-time fan, and Adam’s brother, Ryan Stoutenburgh on lead guitar, all the pieces fell back into place on Universal Hurt. Frankie & HisFingers are back from the grave.
Tracks like “Celebrate!” and second single “Just because you are… doesn’t mean you have to…” find the band leaning into the riffy power-pop of groups like Bad Moves and Diarrhea Planet, while “There’s a dragon in that cave” brings the album to a close with a nine-minute synth-pop jam reminiscent at various times of both Thin Lizzy and Flock of Dimes. Traces of Big Star, The Get Up Kids, Cheap Trick, The Weakerthans, Teenage Fanclub, The Hold Steady, Bruce Springsteen, and Elvis Costello permeate the record’s ten tracks.
Pre-order and stream Universal Hurt here.