The Fratellis have matured. Some people will love it and some people will think they’ve changed for the worse. The tunes aren’t quite as catchy as before – so Chelsea Dagger will remain the sound of city centres at 3am for a while longer – but their cheeky charm has not abated and their swagger has gained a little more momentum.
In some ways, their sound has become a little less distinctly Fratelli and a little more like a bunch of other bands – Arctic Monkeys, Jet, The Enemy, Primal Scream… At the same time, though, it’s not that they’ve begun to sound like a lame covers band – they’ve just become less of a one-trick pony and more of a well-rounded, beefier rock band.
It could really go either way for The Fratellis with this album. The lack of instant singalong fodder will make a lot of their beer-swigging lad fans lose interest fast, but those who hear something smarter beneath the “der der-der-der der-der-der”s will definitely find this album rewarding.
Of course, we’re still talking about The Fratellis so don’t worry – they’ve not gone political or introspective or experimental. They just construct their pop songs in a more interesting way than so many of their peers (The Kooks?), whose inventiveness tends to fall flat once a killer hook and catchy chorus are in place.
It might not be the extra-terrestrial landscape of a Muse or a Radiohead album, but The Fratellis seem to create an entire scene with their music – a strange cross between the Wild West and the East end of Glasgow. And perhaps because this time they’ve produced the album themselves, the scene seems all the more vivid.
They might not be the kind of band you’d ever expect to hear described as ‘progressing’, and especially after the Kaiser Chiefs‘ second album turned out to be such a strange one (did anybody besides this reviewer actually think it was better than their first?), well, expectations for a band like The Fratellis are surely pretty low.
But they’ve produced a solid second album that is sure to succeed for them as long as they can maintain a good level of exposure – and maybe get a couple of tracks on a couple more adverts!
And if they can get enough exposure with the catchier tracks like Shameless and Look Out Sunshine, well, they might just be able to wangle their way in to the beer-swiggers’ subconscious and pull a festival singalong out of the bag after all.