Friday, June 27, 2008

The Fratellis - Here We Stand

2006’s Costello Music quietly established the Fratellis as Glasgow’s meathead hit, though from this American’s point of view, it was actually a special sort of record that told cheeky stories of boys and girls, woven between all sorts of guitar texture and gibberish choruses.

Jon Fratelli's still a storyteller, and it's quite a funny thing to read through his lyrics and realize that half the songs begin with “Well” in preparation of what's to come (“Well the room was pink,” “Well once I was persuaded,” “Well let me tell you something”). But musically the band's sophomore effort feels like a bit of a slump until halfway through, only when it suddenly drops most of the arena-ready shtick that Costello Music pleasantly lacked.

There is inconsistency as well as variety; “Stragglers Moon” has a heavy twang, “Babydoll” and “Acid Jazz Singer” are welcome breaks from the flat, heavy guitar that mostly dominates here, and “Lupe Brown” is essentially mod arena rock. Not sure what to make of this variety, though it seems the setting makes the difference – on headphones, the record's quite tolerable, while on a car stereo it seems so much blander.

It’s closing piano build-up “Milk and Money” that wins on the whole, despite having nearly not made the cut, and shows a hint of where the Fratellis will hopefully be in time. This track is a bit less - dare I say? - mindless than other Fratellis songs, and speaking personally, I nearly forgot how disappointed I was in Here We Stand by the time I'd heard “Milk and Money” finish off.


The Fratellis - Milk and Money (stream only - it's another bleedin' Universal record)
Purchase Here We Stand

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