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    The Fratellis

    costello music here we stand

    Costello Music 8 ( 2007 )
    Henrietta / Flathead / Cuntry Boys And City Girls / Whistle For The Choir / Chelsea Dagger / For The Girl / Doginabag / Creepin' Up The Backstairs / Vince The Loveable Stoner / Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night / Baby Fratelli / Got Ma Nuts From A Hippy / Ole Black 'n' Blue Eyes

    I didn't want to like them and the couple of months i've spent listening to the album has been done reluctantly, but their simple spirit, distinctive enough sound and happy doses of sugar have sweetened my life. I now can't resist to the point where, yeah, I actually want to listen to The Fratellis. This is somewhat rare for me for new albums released in the past couple of years. What follows is a review taken from another ten or so internet reviews. Many pages worth of text, edited and condensed down by myself. I won't have to write anything you see, just edit what other people have said into a form I can call my own. Lazy? Yes, in the extreme, but also somewhat fitting for the second hand nature of the melodies on the album in question.

    Like Doherty, Barat, and company, the Fratellis are cutups who cut up the catalogs of revered predecessors (T. Rex, the Ramones, the Stone Roses), rearranging the sonic rummage into something fresh and idiosyncratic. Glasgow trio the Fratellis seemed to have researched the original sources for their sound, looking back to music hall, the British Invasion, glam, ska, and punk. So, yes, you need to be a fan of a certain style of indie rock storytelling currently in vogue in the UK, wherein bad boys act a little naughty and stumble into misadventures, chronicling it all in the lyrics to their songs. Still, the Fratellis are beyond infectious, filling their three-minute, pop-punk ditties with melodic snarl, flouncing sass, and enough lusty sing-along parts to keep the punters busy: bara-bap-bara’s in “Flathead,” la-la-la’s in “For the Girls,” and der-der-der’s in “Chelsea Dagger.” Although they're late to the British indie-rock revival, the Fratellis bring enough good-natured wordplay and catchy melodic hooks to keep the party going.

    Most of "Costello Music" barrels along at a frenetic pace, blending the energy of the Clash with the boozy roots-punk of the Pogues on breakneck guitar riffs that always seem to pause just long enough to hoist a glass before erupting into shout-along choruses. It's pub rock, but smarter and more ambitious, with music as nimble as the lyrics are sharp. At face value The Fratellis are a nondescript looking Glaswegian three piece, who frankly would not be here without The Libertines. Pete Doherty has been on probation longer than the Fratellis have been together, a very short space which has seen them propelled from Arbroath, via a major label ticket to Sunset studios in Los Angeles, to prominent slots on the summer festival circuit. Vince The Loveable Stoner has a similar jauntiness to The Kinks' Dedicated Follower of Fashion. The rhythm of The Clash's Rudie Can't Fail is borrowed for live favourite Everybody Knows You Cried Last night, quaintly referenced with the character Ruby.

    My favourite song here, for the record, is the very Pete Doherty ballad 'Whistle For The Choir'. Suddenly there seems depth in the writing of The Fratellis beyond the good-time surfaces of elsewhere. Finally though, something I could do well to remember when getting disappointed by yet another lack-lustre guitar band debut that isn't 'Closer' by Joy Division or 'Pet Sounds' by The Beach Boys, The Fratellis won't change your life or any of your top-five lists. What the band will do, however, is give you a few good tunes to throw onto a Saturday night playlist while you wait for the real thing to come along. After all, not everything has to be a classic to be worth enjoying.

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    Here We Stand ( 2008 )
    My Friend John / A Heady Tale / Shameless / Look Out Sunshine! / Stragglers Moon / Mistress Mabel / Jesus Stole My Baby / Baby Doll / Tell Me A Lie / Acid Jazz Singer / Lupe Brown / Milk & Money

    So, The Fratellis return to a ho-hum, shrugging of the shoulders. They still don't seem to know what kind of band to be other than a happy, good-time band. That's ok, we all need one of those but behind the smiles are hints of a great harder-rock sound. 'A Heady Tale' and 'Shameless' would both sound even better with expensive Queen-style production and really loud drums. As it is, both tunes make you whistle and hum until they finish playing by which time you've promptly forgotten how they go. Lead single 'Mistress Mabel' opens with some neat guitar riffs, a few pounding drums, rock'n'roll piano. It all seems very promising until some Oasis-style vocals and lyrics come in, by which time you kind of what to give up listening. Well, the guitars and piano continue to impress and more bands need to get piano in their sound. 'Jesus Stole My Baby' manages to ruin the pleasant enough taste left by the likes of 'A Heady Tale' by being something of a tuneless dirge that even Oasis wouldn't have thought good enough to fit a b-side. Guitar harmonies? Sorry guys, you've already ruined this one with your Rod Stewart mixed with Stereophonics vocal approach.

    If Fratellis want to sound a bit 60s / 70s, somebody play them a Coral album and show them how it should be done. Otherwise, if they could listen to the entire Queen back-catalogue and focus in one direction, that'd be good. Ah, if I seem to be kind of heavy on 'Here We Stand', I'm sorry. This is a pleasing bunch of tunes, mostly and nothing is downright terrible, with the possible exception of 'Jesus Stole My Baby'. That's probably an existing fan-favourite now I've said that. Much better and clear album highlight for me is 'Lupe Brown'. It kicks, it's got melody, it doesn't sound like a broken down Oasis album or Stereophonics. It's got a real Seventies rock feel to it, exactly where I personally would like to see Fratellis settle down and live.

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    this page last updated 4/10/08

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