Sound — 9
The Fratellis find themselves in quite a pickle. You can tell by the sound on the new album 'Here We Stand' they want to progress with their music, yet they don't want to betray their fans by eliminating those catchy hooks and pounding choruses that they are loved for. On top of this, they have to steer clear of 'Second Album Syndrome' and of course try to live up to the expectations that Costello Music left behind. For a band in this situation The Fratellis have done pretty damn well. The first things I noticed were the edgier feel to the music, the use of a piano and perhaps most importantly the non-power-chord-dominated riffs. John's guitar work really comes into it's own on songs such as 'My Friend John', 'Tell Me A Lie'and 'Lupe Brown' and his voice is clearly much more powerful here, evident in songs such as 'Look Out Sunshine! ' (which includes a powerfully upbeat key change). The Fratellis created what was seemingly a genre of their own on Costello Music and it looks as though they've done it again with Here We Stand.
Lyrics — 8
I have always been a big fan of The Fratellis' lyrics, telling stories of nights on the town and past girlfriends, but I also love the way these stories are told, at times John's voice can move a mile a minute, but he is also more than capable of blasting out anthemic ballads such as 'Look Out Sunshine!' and 'Milk And Money'. In ways the lyrics are very much the same as they were in Costello Music, this being the only way in which the Fratellis have not advanced. In all fairness they didn't need to.
Overall Impression — 9
My Friend John-A fantastic choice to open the album. As soon as the drum intro kicks in the listener knows that they are in for somethig new and the riff that follows is simply irresistable. Probably my favourite from the album. A Heady Tale-Opens with a catchy piano hook which runs throughout the verses and has a superb chorus which every Fratelli fan will love. Shameless-Features a superb riff and John's guitar skills are displayed really well in this song. With an an anthemic chorus on top of this, this is another highlight of the album. Look Out Sunshine! -A real anthemic song which always puts me in a great mood, you simply have to smile when listening to it. Includes the ultimate upbeat key change for the last chorus. Stragglers Moon-Perhaps the most obvious effort of a pop hit on the album with it's repetetive hook of 'She can't help it', 'The girl can't help it' yet this is set on a background of a more grunge/blues styled guitar line. Grows on you after a few listens. Mistress Mabel-The first single from the album of course, and another one you will be very fond of after a few listens, features a classic Fratellis riff and a Chorus which is sure to get crowds screaming at the top of their lungs. Jesus Stole My Baby-The 'Doginabag' of this album, a catchy blues riff and of course some great lyrics. Babydoll-A beautiful ballad from John. May not hit you at full force the first time round, but this is a really sweet song and one of the best on the album. Tell Me A Lie-With a heavy riff, a speedalong verse and John displaying the full capabilities of his voice this is yet another album highlight. Acid Jazz Singer-Nothing really to stand out from the rest of the album but once again, there's some nice guitar work and a great chorus. Lupe Brown-I really love the riff at the start of this song, but you don't hear much more of it through the song, but the solo at the end is terrific but what's inbetween is nothing special compared to the rest of the album. Milk And Money-John's voice is amazing here and there are some really nice piano riffs. This song more than any other really demonstrates just how far The Fratellis have come over the past two years. Despite what some say, The Fratellis are in a league of their own, different from all the Indie bands on the British music scene, they just have a joyous, upbeat quality that no other band can bring. Having said that however, those Fratellis "fans" who never saw past the 'Der Der Der's' of Chelsea Dagger will probably not like this album. Those who truly saw the Fratellis for what they were (I like to think I am one of these people) will love it. It doesn't quite match up to the genius of Costello Music, but let's face it, what does?