Lansing’s Frank and Earnest have delivered on one hell of a record with “Old Francis”. Gritty, raw and uncompromisingly working class in its roots, it makes me want to say that it pushes the boundaries of punk rock but it doesn’t. It is fairly standard pop-punk. All of the elements are there from the crunchy guitars, pounding drums and the singalong choruses. There are, however, subtle things that make Frank and Earnest an intriguing unit and a band to look out for.

Ben Hassenger, the band’s singer and guitarist, has a vocal style that is really unique. His voice is deep, gravely and has a working class feel to it, yet it is tuneful and you can hum along to it. It’s like your local construction worker singing punk rock. His voice helps bring home the raw energy of the music. The lyrics, like on “Red and Black”, deal with working class issues. “I’m so tired of the red and black/ the aches in my bones, the sweat on my back/I’m so tired of the red and black/My hopes and dreams are under attack” he sings with a conviction that makes you believe he means what he sings.

I didn’t forget about the rest of the band. Ryan Horky (drums), Otis McCheese (guitar/vocals) and Paul Wittmann (bass/vocals) make this record what it is. The music is tight, thumping and will get you pumped up. It’s full of an energy that only a Lansing band can bring you. Recorded earlier this year, when the city still reels from harsh economic times , the band puts all of their energy into playing their instruments. They play so hard and with a fire that is rarely seen around here. The city’s turmoil has seemed to inspire the band and their music. Even on slower tracks like “Clever”, the music is full of soul and passion. It seems that a city under turmoil pushes its bands to do their best. This is most certainly the case with Frank and Earnest and “Old Francis”. Go do yourself a favor and pick this up.