March 5, 2018 The Fratellis – In Your Own Sweet Time (Album Review)
When the commercial spotlight of music began to shift its focus in the late ’90s from the then flourishing Alternative Rock and Indie Pop scenes to the new, badass breeds of Rock and Metal, which took turns in dominating the mainstream in the early part of the decade, many enthusiasts of the aforementioned genres felt defeated. Fortunately, their sense of loss was short-lived. In the advent of the mid-2000s, a new batch of so-called Post-Punk/New Wave revivalists whose primary weapons were their angular guitar sounds and sense of danceability tried to reach for the sunrise, side-by-side with whatever new bands from other genres were being propelled into the center of the music world’s mainstage.
In the 2000s, what may be dubbed as the Modern Renaissance of Pop Rock was led in the United States by the likes of The Killers (“Somebody Told Me”) and The Strokes (“Hard to Explain”); in England, The Libertines (“Time for Heroes”) and The Cribs (“Mirror Kisses”); in Canada, The Dears (“Lost in the Plot”) and Broken Social Scene (“Cause = Time”); and in Scotland, Franz Ferdinand (“Take Me Out”) and The Fratellis (“Whistle for the Choir”). Speaking of The Fratellis, the trio – Jon Fratelli (lead vocals, guitar), Barry Fratelli (bass), and Mince Fratelli (drums, backup vocals) – are unleashing a new album. – are unleashing a new album.
Formed in 2005, in Glasgow, Scotland, The Fratellis have four full-lengths to their credit, 2006’s Costello Music to 2015’s Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied, spawning a string of memorable singles that included “Ole Black ’n’ Blue Eyes,” “Look Out Sunshine!,” “She’s Not Gone Yet, But She’s Leaving,” and “Baby, Don’t You Lie to Me!” Three years after the last one, another masterpiece is on the horizon!
On March 16, 2018, The Fratellis’ fifth record, In Your Own Sweet Time, will be released on Cooking Vinyl. It opens like purple rain grooves under a bright, early-morning sun with the Dance Rock-styled “Stand Up Tragedy,” the album’s first single. This is followed by the swirly, subtly Reggae, and Baroque Pop-stylized “Starcrossed Losers” – think of a sonic hybrid of The Clash (“Somebody Got Murdered”), Big Audio Dynamite (“Rush”), Musical Youth (“Pass the Dutchie”), Nick Heyward (“Kite”), Split Enz (“Six Months in a Leaky Boat”), Lloyd Cole & the Commotions (“Rattlesnakes”), and The Farmer’s Boys (“Phew Wow!”). Is that not a wonderful New Wave mélange?
The mood then vibes back to the equally shiny accoutrements of ’60s Sunny Pop with “Sugartown.” Then, The Fratellis emphasize their princely, revolutionary influence as “Told You So” comes gliding in like a raspberry beret, only to throw the listener back again to the glorious Sixties’ psychedelia with “The Next Time We Wed” – a contemporary Dance Pop that exudes faint echoes of The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).”
After the trip to the ’60s, The Fratellis then treat the now enamored listener to a combo of late ’70s Disco (Abba’s “Take a Chance on Me” and “Mamma Mia”) and early ’80s New Wave (The Police’s “Synchronicity II”) with their own “I’ve Been Blind.” The upbeat and smoothly propulsive “Laughing Gas” then radiates next like a warm embrace.
“Advaita Shuffle” is certainly a rocking stomper, with a glaze of undulating effects, reverberating guitars, and cyclical Honky-Tonk guitar lines. A further excursion to the countryside takes place next as “I Guess I Suppose” thumps its bass and drum beats, paving the way to another dancefloor-worthy, Dub-inspired track, “Indestructible;” this might remind the initiated of ’90s Britpop classics like “Daydreamer” by Menswear, “Divine Thing” by The Soup Dragons, and “Girls & Boys” by Blur. Finally, The Fratellis wrap up their glittery new offering with the seven-minute Hindustani-influenced, Progressive-Psychedelic combo epic “I Am That.”
In this age of fast-track information and so much accessibility, there is no more validity to the lament that no more good music is being made. Only those who got stuck in their moments in the past, and who do not have the ability to behold the beauty in anything new and the initiative to seek this out, complain contemptuously and endlessly in vain. The Fratellis’ In Your Own Sweet Time is an example of what wonder the open-minded music lover can have in this golden age of stylistic diversity and limitless fusions. CrypticRock gives the album 4 out of 5 stars.