The Fratellis are a Scottish rock band from Glascow that broke out big last year with Costello Music and its raucous first singles "Henrietta" and "Chelsea Dagger." The album evokes boozy nights in the local club and the album plays like a live setlist. They're no doubt great live, and that their energy transfers to their first album so effortlessly is a tribute to them.
"Henrietta" kicks it off in high style and gets you moving; can't you just see the kids thrusting up and down to this? "Flathead," used in iPod advertisments, gets you moving too and is even better. "Cuntry Boys and City Girls" bursts forth with horns and guitar blasts. This is music for the masses with glasses (of ale).
"Chelsea Dagger" is another highlight. The plodding bassline demands you move along with it and the chanting refrain demands you sing along too. (FYI: "Chelsea" refers to lead singer/guitarist John Lawler's wife). Energetic "Creeping up the Backstairs," which was chosen to lead the band's first EP last April, is frenetic and breezy at the same time. "For the Girl" occupies a similar vein of upbeat energy and fast singing, along with a good dose of "la la las," which permeate most songs.
"Baby Fratelli" also has that sing-along dance-along quality and has a particularly powerful chorus. It's near the end of the album, so by then the wasted crowd would probably be up for anything. As British as this album is, it has some significant American influences too, including country, whose twangy sound shows up on cheeky "Vince the Loveable Stoner."
As fun as the party songs are, the quieter/slower ones are good too. "Whistle for the Choir" provides a lovely resting point early in the album. "Doginabag," slower, but definitely not quieter, has a darker vibe than most of the tracks. As does "Got Na Nuts from a Hippie." "Ole Black 'n' Blue Eyes" closes the album on a nice mellow vibe.
Personally, I much prefer this to the Arctic Monkeys. It's a little more polished, but still retains enough rough edges to make it sound fresh. The songs are more melodic and more interesting too. That the band has managed no less than seven singles from this album is a testament to its staying power.
Best: Chelsea Dagger, Flathead, Henrietta, Whistle for the Choir, Baby Fratelli, Ole Black N Blue Eyes