Listen without prejudice, as George Michael once said. After all, it’s tempting to view this record through a prism of ‘What Frank And Jim Did Next’, given their pedigree in Gallows and The Hope Conspiracy, and given Frank’s assertion that he’s “so sick of singing about hate” on first single ‘Bury My Bones’. That track is included here, and although it’s a decent tune with a great riff, there are more rewarding treasures to be found on ‘Anthems’.
Frank is blessed with a kind of cold croon that, when paired with Jim’s chiming, often Johnny Marr-esque guitars, creates a sound that will lodge in your consciousness whether you like it or not. The soaring choruses of ‘Handsome Devil’s Club’, ‘Riot Song’ and ‘The Hits’ will sound absolutely epic live, and they even manage to pull off a decent ballad in ‘Heavy Kind Of Chains’.
That’s not to say that all the duo’s rough edges have been smoothed over, though. Opening track ‘She’ rides in on a spiky riff reminiscent of early Manic Street Preachers, whilst ‘Scared To Death’ sees Frank howling away like in the days of old. “All’s fair in love and war/And I’m a soldier in both” he asserts, over a barrage of jagged power chords from Jim, to exhilarating effect.
Ultimately, ‘Anthems’ is an album brimming with addictive, unadulterated rock n’ roll songs and no little confidence. Only time will tell if that’s enough to gain Pure Love the same kind of rabidly devoted fanbase that the duo’s previous bands enjoy, but there’s definitely enough quality here to merit them being taken seriously as a band in their own right.