Release Date: Aug 21, 2015
Record label: Cooking Vinyl
While the Fratellis went back to basics on We Need Medicine, they find unexpected ways to revisit their early days on Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied. The band recruited Costello Music producer Tony Hoffer (who has also worked with M83 and Belle and Sebastian) on this set of songs, and with his help they branch out from their usual mix of carousing anthems and Americana. "Me and the Devil" wastes no time in announcing that the Fratellis are trying different things: its massive sweep sounds more like Muse than the band responsible for "Chelsea Dagger," though its refrain of "I'm gonna sell this soul of mine" ultimately pounds itself into listeners' heads just as firmly as their hits.
If the Fratellis never recorded again, they’d be remembered for 2006’s stomping Chelsea Dagger, which took a football chant-type hookline into the Top 5 and remains a playlist staple at sports stadia around the world. Now on their fourth album, rollicking country rocker Imposters (Little By Little) shows that they haven’t lost their knack for super-catchy melodies that could be bellowed by a crowd – although this time it’s the guitar riff, not the vocal that sticks in the head. Elsewhere, swaggering glam-indie, music-hall rowdiness and lyrics that rhyme “rust” with “must” are occasionally augmented by more wistful reflections.
If Kaiser Chiefs were Bowie to the mid-2000s radio indie boom years, then The Fratellis were Mud. Possessors of ‘Chelsea Dagger’, a single sloppy pop song designed to make festival crowds stomp their wellies in time, the Glaswegian trio seemed destined for pop cultural immortality, and rapid musical oblivion.Which is why, as fourth albums go, ‘Eyes Wide Tongue Tied’ seems a pleasant surprise. There’s still something deeply disposable about Jon Fratelli’s tribute American accent, his off-the-mark tales of how he “[i]sang the blues for my bride[/i]” or his unfortunate decision to write an entire song called ‘Moonshine’.
Back in 2007, The Fratellis played at Radio One Big Weekend in Preston. It was the first experience I had with live music (other than seeing 5ive when I was....er....five) and if you dig out the YouTube performance of ‘Chelsea Dagger’ you can see me, aged 15, being silly. Look at the line-up and you’ll see that quite a lot has changed since then.
One more stab of Chelsea Daggers. The Fratellis had already been around the block, and the Scottish fairgrounds where they met, before Chelsea Dagger gave them a year near the top. If you hated the Britpop bounce of that wild girl’s tale, then not much on new latest album Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied will change your mind. .
JORDIN SPARKS “RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW”. (19/Louder Than Life).