From the Heart: Scotland’s Frankie Morrow Debut with Enchanting & Cathartic ‘Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel’ EP

Frankie Morrow © 2022
Frankie Morrow © 2022
Scotland’s Frankie Morrow lift our spirits with their enchanting debut EP ‘Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel,’ a glistening and groovy folk rock record full of rich, warm harmonies and heartfelt lyrics.
for fans of Mt. Joy, Alabama Shakes, Lake Street Dive
Stream: “Sunflowers” – Frankie Morrow




It all started where most records start – with a break up!

Frankie Morrow’s debut EP hits the ears like a late Autumn breeze: Light and refreshing, it’s a welcome change of pace that instantly lifts our spirits and relieves our souls. Glistening and groovy, Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel comes to life with sweet rock and gentle indie folk, warm harmonies and moving lyrics that prove both utterly enchanting and absolutely enriching.

Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel - Frankie Morrow
Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel – Frankie Morrow
Sunflowers at the station gate
You ask me where to wait
I stay at platform three
Don’t be late for me
Let’s take a walk outside
To the streets, with the passersby
And don’t you cause a scene
I’m not doing this to be mean
We, we, we, we we’re tangled up in bed
You, you, you, you, you ask me when’s the end?
I, I, I, I, I have no answer for that

Independently released October 28, 2022, Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel is a sublime introduction to Scottish five-piece Frankie Morrow. Comprised of singer/songwriter Frankie Morrow (electric guitar, lead vocals), James Smith (bass – formerly Be Charlotte), Duncan Carswell (drums – formerly The Vegan Leather), Neev (acoustic guitar, keys, BVs), and Samuel Nicholson (electric guitar), Frankie Morrow’s music is a tapestry of smoldering, soul-stirring wonder. They excel at crafting moments of soft, gentle reverie and hard-hitting passion alike, and they’ve imbued their first release with a healthy dose of both.

Yet whether they’re jamming out with the overdrive turned up, or dwelling in the hush of acoustic folk warmth, at the heart of Frankie Morrow’s music is a singer and songwriter quickly coming into her own and leaning into life’s heavy moments. As Morrow sings in “Satisfaction, “I’d bleed for you, you know I would, but man I’m getting tired.”

Frankie Morrow © 2022
Frankie Morrow © 2022



Frankie Morrow’s story technically begins several years ago, but the band as we know it now took shape sometime in 2020.

“It all started where most records start – with a break up!” Morrow laughs. “These songs are a collection of my musings over the years – before the band got together I used to perform as a solo artist – and so I guess the impetus was really just me coming to terms with lots of the changes and upheaval that had happened in my life at the time.”

“To be honest I’m not quite sure there was a vision so to speak – which I know sounds a bit strange – but I’ve written songs since I was 14 years old, so the only goal really was to finally capture a collection of songs and begin this path as a recording artist and now band. Because a lot of the record was engineered at my flat or friend’s house’s (shout out to Neev and Samuel Nicholson for being such kind, wonderful band mates) most of the songs began as acoustic tracks with Americana and folk hues. Once we felt comfortable with that as a base, through the process there was a natural development in the sound, adding different textures and parts such as the string arrangements in ‘Sunflowers’ or the electric guitar riff in ‘Sirens.'”

Frankie Morrow © 2022
Frankie Morrow © 2022



From Morrow’s perspective, Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel is a one-stop shop for getting to know her and her artistry.

The band held nothing back in bringing out the soul of each song, and if there’s one thing that can be said of all six of the EP’s tracks, it is that Frankie Morrow wear their hearts on their sleeves.

“I think it’s definitely a snapshot in time,” Morrow says. “It’s a good introduction to Frankie Morrow because it showcases our songwriting, but our live show is definitely more rock than on the record which has naturally developed from playing live together. That’s what we want to focus on for the next set of recordings – and how to capture the energy we have live in that process.”

“For me, Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel is my ‘Sliding Doors’ moment,” she says of the title. “Have you seen that film? The whole premise is based around Helen – who’s played by Gwyneth Paltrow – and how her life could dramatically change based on whether she catches a train or not. I remember feeling quite lost when I was out living in Sydney when I first moved there, me and my ex had briefly met at the BPPH and suddenly I was on this whole other adventure I had no idea was coming. It got me thinking about how these tiny decisions we make in our everyday lives can have such huge impacts on us later down the line, and I found that a really interesting concept for the record.”

Frankie Morrow © 2022
Frankie Morrow © 2022



Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel opens with the softly sweet “Sunflowers,” a lilting, scene-setting folk song layered with intimate vocal harmonies, rich orchestral strings, subtle, smile-inducing oboes, and gentle, heartwarming guitar melodies. As the band lull us into a restful dreamstate, Morrow’s storytelling lyrics tell a tale of heartbreak and separation:

You must have left in a hurry cause you
Still had some money
Lying on the kitchen bench
Shirt of purple on the carpet
Stains on it darling
How could I forget?
To anybody else it was a natural scene still
Coffee on the counter but
Now only the TV blinks at me
Only the TV
We, we, we, we we’re tangled up in bed
You, you, you, you, you ask me when’s the end?
I, I, I, I, I have no answer for that

“I always envisaged the EP beginning with this song as healing from a heartbreak is anything but linear, and so it felt very fitting to begin with the story of the break up itself,” Morrow explains. “I have quite a dark sense of humour too and I liked the tragic comedy of sunflowers as an emblem of cheer and sunshine – though it was definitely anything but that at the time!”




Further highlights include the groovy, invigorating folk rocker “White Rocks” and the achingly wistful “Sydney Skyline (There’s Never Enough),” two more songs that expand the band’s artistry while showcasing Morrow’s talents as a vocalist, lyricist, and performer.

She herself notes the EP’s finale as a personal favorite: “I think it has to be ‘A Sign of Promise’ for me. Two years ago, I was still using GarageBand and had never recorded a song properly. So to have walked away with a track that I had produced and arranged, scoring clarinet parts and co-writing string arrangements felt pretty amazing. I still feel really proud of that one. It’s also the most complicated song on the record – not the most obvious choice for a single – but I like that about it.”

Let me speak with you in confidence
May I steal a moment of your time
And if not, why not, why not now
You’re not too tired are you?
Are you?
There but for the grace of God go I
Hold me like the river holds the current
As she swims into the light
But who am I to love you
Who am I to judge
Who am I to love you
Who am I to judge


As a lyricist, Morrow cites the song “Sirens” as containing some of her favorite lines. “That’s probably the song that I feel is some of the strongest writing I’ve managed to capture so far,” she reflects. “The music that I love and connect with as a listener is usually based in honest and vulnerable storytelling. Neev’s  favourite is from ‘Sunflowers’: ‘And so I slammed the door / I broke the bathroom mirror / Wasn’t even mine to break / Guess I’ll be paying rent late.’

I found all the letters that I wrote to you
In a shoebox, in the cupboard hidden away from view
They were weighted with words like love and truth
The paper weighed so heavy
So I put them out with the pizza boxes
That had been building up for days on my countertops and
I thought is this really what it all comes down to
Who paid that bill was it me or you?
Well you lie there on my couch, I see you
But I feel your body leaving
Go ahead try pronounce my name
But your eyes just stare at the ceiling
And my heart rises up to the occasion
Finds a voice from way beyond my means
And I ask if you still love me but you
Just get up, to walk around
– “Sirens,” Frankie Morrow
Frankie Morrow © 2022
Frankie Morrow © 2022



It may ache throughout with the sting of grief, loss, and change, but Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel‘s chief emotion is catharsis: The EP ultimately leaves its listeners refreshed, restored, and ready to move forward.

“I hope if anyone is going through a break up, it eases their heart and comforts them in some way. Be kind to yourself. Accept what is, accept what isn’t. You will find your place,” Morrow shares. As for the band?

“We are just so excited!” she beams. “We’ve already begun demoing the next set of songs which have a darker indie rock feel to them. We can’t wait to share them with you!”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Frankie Morrow’s Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel with Atwood Magazine as Morrow (the person) goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of the band’s debut EP!

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:: stream/purchase Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel here ::
‘Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel’ – Frankie Morrow



:: Inside Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel ::

Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel - Frankie Morrow

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Sunflowers

Sunflowers is the opening track to the record. I always envisaged the EP beginning with this song as healing from a heartbreak is anything but linear, and so it felt very fitting to begin with the story of the break up itself. I have quite a dark sense of humour too and I liked the tragic comedy of sunflowers as an emblem of cheer and sunshine – though it was definitely anything but that at the time!
I remember coming back to clear the flat that we had shared together and it felt like a museum – all of our things abandoned there just how we had left them: “You must’ve left in a hurry / Cause you still had some money / Lying on the kitchen bench



White Rocks

White Rocks actually started out as a completely different tune. I had the first words “I know you take it to forget / But you end up forgetting me” and the original song hung about for a while as a very low and slow kind of mournful lament. I forgot about it and then a couple years later it came back to me. I started playing around with it again in early 2020 and found the bass riff which tied it altogether. Once I had that I knew it had to be a full band song – it was a really important moment in developing our sound from the more acoustic tracks.

Satisfaction

Satisfaction is about watching someone finding it hard to cope, and self-medicating in order to take the pain away. Something I’m sure we have all been guilty of. You see the person that you love and their struggle – you want to help, but you can’t get through.
I wrote the bridge for this song years after I had the original verse/chorus, once I was able to make peace with the situation, and show compassion and understanding: “Can’t see a way out of this one / Didn’t meant to write you as a villain / We were just children”

Sydney Skyline (There’s Never Enough)

I think Sydney Skyline really deals with themes of codependency. The phrase ‘There’s never enough’ really sticks out to me because I think at first it comes across as quite saccharine but I think it has a bit of a double meaning.
I remember going out when I was still deep in the midst of heartbreak and trying to move on way before I was ready: “There’s been a Peter; there’s been a Paul / I thought they’d help me / But in fact they made it worse”



Sirens

The body of the song – lead vocal and acoustic guitar  – was recorded as one live take in my living room on my own one drizzly Saturday afternoon. You need to be in quite a specific head space to deliver this song in the way it was intended to be heard – and in actual fact we had tried to record it a few months prior but fireworks kept going off outside our window!
It’s the most cathartic song I think I’ve written to date, and my favourite of our live show – for the band version we proper rock out. I hope we can release a live band version of this song in the coming months.

A Sign of Promise

This track centres around themes of acceptance, healing and forgiveness. The title of the song came from my brother actually. He came into my room one night when I was riffing the chorus of ASOP and he said ‘This sounds like a sign of promise, it’s a sign of peace.’ I thought A Sign of Promise was such a beautiful title and really captured how I felt at the time. I even managed to get the actual voice note of him saying that into the track (it’s right before the bells go off at the end.)
The bells in the track were actually recorded on my iPhone – it’s the bells of St.Paul’s in London on a Sunday morning – I stood there mesmerised listening for hours whilst passersby shuffled past me. It’s a really spiritual thing I think, to listen to those bells. There is something so ancient and divine about them.

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:: stream/purchase Frankie Morrow here ::



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Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel - Frankie Morrow

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