Something about The Fratellis put me off the moment I heard them. The music is harmless enough, as they plunder everything that is trendy right now, but it just sounds too contrived in its happy-go-lucky garage-pop facade. The blatant Arctic Monkeys rip-off is just unsettling. I realize the Arctic Monkeys have sold a ridiculous amount of records in England, which probably inspired a lot of kids to start bands. But this form of mimicry speaks to a level of disingenuousness that rubs me the wrong way. This band is trying to cash in, as opposed to the kids who want to start bands because they genuinely want to emulate a sound or an image.
Maybe, itâ€™s just me, but I never understood the appeal of the Libertines, either. Iâ€™m an avid detester of Pete Doherty, but even prior to his embarrassing drug shenanigans, I found The Libertines to be lame-duck Strokes imitators with nowhere near the same hooks or panache. The Fratellis plunder The Libertines watered-down garage-pop with equal fervor, throwing a twanged-up melodic curveball every now and again to prove some semblance of versatility. The silliness inherent to songs like â€œVince the Lovable Stonerâ€ seems like a transparent way of saying, â€œhey, we know weâ€™re ripping people off, but we just want everyone to have a good time.â€
The predictability of the music, notwithstanding, The Fratellis donâ€™t even try to capture an original thought, hoping their charged-up, sing-along choruses will keep you from noticing. This is party music for the unthinking. So, yes, lots of people will like it. But at least bands like the Arctic Monkeys have clever, amusing lyrics. This is just frivolous dreck. But itâ€™s catchy frivolous dreck.
Catchy never automatically means good, though. The list of bands one could reference listening to Costello Music is overwhelming and pointless. This band unabashedly wears its influences as badges of honor, but its too busy trying to make sure youâ€™re having fun to realize thereâ€™s no substance whatsoever. In other words, perfect for an iPod commercial.