The Fratellis – Here We Stand

Previously published on PopWreckoning.com on 6/9/2008:

Scottish band The Fratellis first came crashing into the music scene with crazy rhymes, loud guitars and big drums in 2005. For their 2008 sophomore effort Here We Stand, the boys hit the brakes for a more reflective release. The big instruments and the silly rhymes are still present, but the introduction of the piano carries the band into some gentler tunes that weren’t present on Costello Music.

Although titled Here We Stand, the album sounds more like the band walked around in a daze before taking a stance. Lead singer Jon Fratelli even admits that songs like “My Friend John” and single “Mistress Mabel” are schizophrenic. The confusion is even more evident in the song order of the album. The bombastic opening track moves into the softer, piano-laden “A Heady Tale” and later the crooning sounds of “Babydoll”awkwardly switch into the edgy “Tell Me a Lie.”

As a whole the album is a hodgepodge of styles and ideas that can leave listeners befuddled, but when broken down into individual tracks, some of the band’s finest work can be found, especially as the album develops. The simplistic, but sweet “Babydoll” has the potential to have all the ladies swooning. “Lupe Brown” has a retro vibe that will have you dancing. Lyrically, the strongest song is “Acid Jazz,” a song that describes the band’s goals when it says, “Get it right today and you may still be here tomorrow.”

The track you don’t want to miss is album closer, “Milk and Money,” which has an unexpected construction based around the piano line. It is a departure from the last album, but this clever track perfectly eases the album to a close and in doing so it leaves the listener satisfied, but wanting more.

The first words heard on the album ask, “If you were a shape what shape would you be?” And this album shows the Fratellis tried really hard to think outside of the box and shake off any labels placed on them from the first album. While, their effort might be overdone in their attempt to be indefinable, the subtle nuances that weren’t present their first time around are worth checking out on Here We Stand, available worldwide June 10, 2008.

The Fratellis: website | myspace

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