Creepin' up the indie league
When Fratellis started gaining mass media attention the words "a Scottish Libertines" were being used. Frankly that hardly tells the story, not least, and brace yourself for a controversial statement Libertines fans...Fratellis are already a country mile ahead of Doherty, Barrat and co after one album! An album that has seen them scale the chart mountain and almost reach the summit as it has so far peaked at 2.
Back in April Fratellis, along with the Automatic were causing a roadblock in London's NW1 at the Camden Crawl. Already the word was spreading fast about both acts, but Fratellis would take the backseat while Automatic enjoyed the status of 'anthem of the summer' with 'Monster'. I'm not actually planning on drawing comparisons between the two acts in this review, but merely pointing out that the "what's that coming over the hill" brigade would have had a real strong rival for the festival anthem had 'Chelsea Dagger' been out at the time. The indie rock turn mainstream pop juggernaut that has become the Fratellis signature song is a great example of what this band are about, but the thing I love about this Scottish act is, just when you think you've figured out what they do, something totally different comes along. Sure you can say the same for many bands and there are certainly better examples of the really varied, but 'Costello Music' is an album that does so much more than we could have expected on the strength of this band's early singles.
'Whistle For the Choir' looks like being their breakthrough into the most mainstream section of the pop market place, and to return to the British indie comparison game, is more Zutons than Libertines. It is an acoustic based, majestic piece of catchy summery indie pop which was always destined to worm it's way into places their heavier singles wouldn't be allowed to. 'Vince The Loveable Stoner' is another from this mold, although there are heavier moments in it and is less of a surprising track the first time you listen to this album.
'Costello Music' is packed with potential singles that could all go on to become anthems. Aside from 'Creepin' Up The Backstairs', the single released before 'Henrietta' there are two that really stand out as future classics. 'For The Girl' is another in ya face whirlwind of a track like their three singles prior to 'Whistle For The Choir', but for me the album's highlight is 'Baby Fratelli'. Like the life and soul of the party that is last to leave the bar, this one is still going round and round the brain long after the rest have called it a night.
From the opening rift of early anthem 'Henrietta', through to the closing notes of 'Ole Black 'N' Blue Eyes', 'Costello Music' is packed with catchy rifts and energetic basslines which combine to make this an album with more indie anthems in the making than any other I've heard in 2006.