Score one for European rock! It’s nice to see so many quality bands starting to gain notice here in the states. Although, for the Scottish trio The Fratellis, they got a little help from a few Apple iPod commercials that feature the super-infectious “Flathead” (Windows Media stream) with its choral chanting and punkish swinging. The song blends both punk and ska to create a stylized throwback to underground 80s music.
The single also lends its name to this EP, which is the precursor to the soon-to-be-released United States debut of Costello Music that charted last year at number two on the UK charts. The Fratellis received huge acclaim in Europe, winning Best British Breakthrough Act at the 2007 Brit Awards.
What makes The Fratellis so striking is that the band sounds so positive and fun. With “Henrietta” the band tries to persuade a young girl to hang out with them despite the objections of her significant other (“We know you love us and you probably do / Although your husband may cut us / He’s such an animal”).
And what rock album wouldn’t be without its ode to drugs? In “Stacie Anne” the band kind of takes a stab at the economic establishment (“They think they’re mental cause they’ve tried harder stuff / But they’re just rich kids yes, all in a f*ckin mess”) while also being on a violent high (“I could’ve killed you in so many different ways”). The guitar beats definitely mask any negativity with very catchy “oh’s” and “la’s.”
The Fratellis also tries to maintain a live indie vibe throughout their songs. The music seems distant, creating this atmosphere of them singing to you on stage with you being all the way in the back of the room. With many sing-a-long choruses, the band offers many listener participation opportunities. In “Cigarello” there is much clapping that suggests both the band and the audience are equally involved.
The Flathead serves as a satisfactory taste of The Fratellis until the band’s full-length American debut. Then at last we can finally hear what those Britains have been raving about all this time. And I’m not talking about Amy Winehouse.
To view a Fratelli’s Pirate video podcast, click here.