Review Summary: Glasgow boys Churn out a Debut that most established band would kill for
Shettleston, Glasgow is not a nice place at all, with a life expectancy that would rival some third world countries, and a percentage below the poverty line to match, it probably wouldn’t be seen as the most…”ideal” breeding ground for a band poised to take the music scene and shake it up again a’ la Franz Ferdinand circa 2004. What is quite strange however, is that The Fratellis are, in many senses, a one-trick pony, however, whereas for some bands this is a fatal flaw, The Fratellis pull it off with aplomb,
This isn’t down to coincidence either, because the trick is a good one, all of the songs on this CD are guaranteed to get the feet tapping along. It is, on the other hand, slightly formulaic due to that as well, each, bar Whistle for the Choir
are build around upbeat or what can only be described as “jingly-jangly” guitar riffs, which are build onto drum beats which have a sort of military procession thing going on. Basically, think of “Welcome to the black parade” from the new My Chemical Romance album, take the snare drum-roll from the start of it and repeat, that’s what the drumbeat usually consists of. But, instead of bringing the album down, when combined with some rather good bass work, it manages to sound perfectly in place.
Where this album really begins to shine however, is in the songwriting and lyrical side of it. With the three members all growing up in Glasgow’s east end, Jon Fratelli creates characters Such as Vince the Lovable Stoner
, who is described as “a loner, a lovable stoner” that spelled his name backwards, to Chelsea Dagger
who Jon describes as “She was good, she was hot stealin’ everything she got, I was bold she was over the worst of it”. As well as this, there’s the story of Henrietta
a fan who bordered on obsessive who is told in the song that It’s “hard to miss you when you follow us about”. However, lyrically, the high point on the album comes from Whistle for the choir
is Jon singing from the perspective of a beggar out on the streets of the East End of Glasgow who meets the girl who could give him the opportunity to fix his life, a simple enough story, but the lyrics read like a slightly skewed fairy-tale. The song also provides the only respite from the jumpy dancy tracks that form the body of the rest of the album with the song being built around a light, quiet acoustic guitar, which makes way for a few basic chords in the chorus.
So, how does this album stack up overall? Well, Jon’s lyrics send this pretty high up straight away. If the rare ability to churn good track after good track out is added to the mix, and we’re looking at an album that’s already pretty high up there, Jon and Barry Fratelli on guitar and bass respectively both put in a sterling performance throughout the album and Mince (real name unknown), puts in a shift on the drums that, although on it’s own, is basic and uninspiring, in the grand scheme of foot-tapping jump-up-and-down music, slots in perfectly, leaving this debut from the Shettleston boys one of, if not the UK album of the year; and definitely one of the best album to com out in the past year.
In Genre: 5/5
Out Of Genre:4.5/5