The Fratellis – Costello Music

Just because heavy metal isn’t denting the charts as regularly as I’d like doesn’t mean I’m not getting my fix of kick-ass rock ’n’ roll. A few weeks ago I began a new obsession that was temporarily thwarted by my lack of money. The tale began on the BBC’s Top of the Pops website. It occurred to me at the time that I was almost as out of touch with the charts as I was back in 1997 when, with my older sisters having left home, I only really heard what my mother played on the stereo. I heard a lot of Motown that year. Anyway, in an attempt to avoid living in the musical past for another few years I decided to make use of the videos offered on the site’s ‘Top 40’ pages. The usual RnB tripe is still invading much of the charts and Sandi Thom, whose lyrics annoy and offend me in ways too profound for you to ever be able to truly comprehend, had two singles bouncing around there at the time but I found reasons to be joyful about modern music: I like Kasabian’s ‘Empire’ and I love the Fratellis’ ‘Chelsea Dagger’.

My money problems have sorted themselves out for now, allowing me to buy ‘Costello Music’, The Fratellis’ debut album. It’s a work of sheer, unadulterated brilliance. It’s full of grab-you-by-the-balls rock guitar hooks bound together with something else: an early twentieth century quality that gives it a feel much like the odder tracks on Queen’s ‘A Night at the Opera’ with more edgy lyrics. Too many musicians from rough backgrounds glamorise the lifestyle they’ve come from, I’m sure you’ve all heard your fair share of piss-poor London rap, but the Fratellis evoke a kind of washed-out, gritty sense of economic depression that sometimes seems at odds with the musical tone of their songs. If you ever wanted to see the underbelly of decadence, this is it.

I love ‘Costello Music’. It’s new, it’s different and it’s actually good. It seems to have a bit of everything – an indie-rock background with influences from a whole century of popular music. Queen only really did this kind of stuff as a novelty but the Fratellis have made extreme genre-bending their own. Furthermore, there is no sense of pretentiousness to they way the songs are written, they’re all catchy as hell and make brilliant pop songs while retaining a rock kick in the balls. This is probably the album I’ve been waiting for all these years and I was pleased as punch when I found they were playing my university’s student union…

Below is the official video for ‘Chelsea Dagger’. Copyright Universal Island Records ltd. No infringement intended. Video will be removed on request of the copyright holder.


~ by Scary Rob on 30 September, 2006.

One Response to “The Fratellis – Costello Music”

  1. Ha. I totally agree about Sandi Thom, possibly the most bizarre commerical success I’ve heard, and I dont mean that in a good way.But I’ve only heard the excessively annoying ‘ I wish I was a punk rocker’ lyrics and would be grateful if you could send me some others of hers so that, in my boredom, I can stew angrily over them.
    Your favourite angry welsh woman

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