REVIEW: The Fratellis, Costello Music, Cherry Tree/Interscope

Posted April 19th, 2007 by Eric Greenwood · 1 Comment

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, it’s just me, but I never understood the appeal of the Libertines, either. I’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 “Vince the Lovable Stoner” seems like a transparent way of saying, “hey, we know we’re ripping people off, but we just want everyone to have a good time.”

The predictability of the music, notwithstanding, The Fratellis don’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 it’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 you’re having fun to realize there’s no substance whatsoever. In other words, perfect for an iPod commercial.

Tags: album-review

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 radiofreekevin // Apr 20, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    I’d venture to say the Arctic Monkeys are starved for originality, too. I think they try too much to bank on being British, sort of like Robbie Williams. The Arctic Monkey’s debut was one of the biggest, “D’as all?” moments I’ve had in a coon’s age.

    Duck butter.