Scottish bar-punk rockers hop the pond

Adam Griffiths

Freshman Fratellis album is a guaranteed good time

Credit: Ron Soltys

Forty-three years ago, four British boys created quite the ruckus on this side of the Atlantic.

With their debut, Costello Music, The Fratellis may just be the new and improved comeback everyone has been waiting for. They are the ultimate indie-pop package. The illusion of Modest Mouse. Hints of Jet-like guitar parts. If “The O.C.” were still a reality, its music directors would have all they need for the next season.

But America already knows The Fratellis. Their catchy song “Flathead” is the current series of iTunes ads, but the group is destined to be so much more than “that iTunes band.”

Costello Music is a crafted mix CD of music to drink the night away, which doesn’t make too much sense, because to get the full effect, you have to listen closely.

From lead singer John Fratelli crooning, “Although your husband may cut us / He’s such an animal” on the first track, “Henrietta,” to “I passed out one time by your door / It was twenty to four, but I just can’t be sure” on the Jimmy Buffett-meets-brass-pop bonus track “Cuntry Boys & Girls,” the lyrics are wild.

There are overdoses of Scottish jargon. (Anyone want to venture as to what a “Doginabag” is?) There is also a healthy allusion to popular androgyny on “Chelsea Dagger,” the catchiest after the iTunes beat, as Fratelli trills, “I would’ve sold them to you / If I could’ve just have kept the last of my clothes on.”

At moments, we feel like we’re sitting right next to the brothers. “The Gutterati,” with lines such as “So you can bring your waiters banjo / Bring your sister and her friend,” ends with drunken ramble. With tracks such as “Vince the Lovable Stoner” and “Got Ma Nuts from a Hippy,” it’s hard to expect anything less than 50 minutes of pure riot and rubbish. Put it on. You’ll get too lost in its trickery to do anything but dance and love it, even if you’re sober.

This trio of Scottish brothers gives us nothing not to like on its debut effort. It’s punk pop done right. The men sing about women, drinking and doing it all over again. Costello Music is a melody about a Friday night out, stumbling home wasted and all. When it’s over, or maybe the next morning, you only want it to happen all over again.

“These are crazy times down at Costello music,” Fratelli warbles on “Henrietta.”

Anything less than chaotic would be a letdown.

The Fratellis

Costello Music

Released on Interscope Records

Stater rating (out of five):


Contact ALL reporter Adam Griffiths at [email protected].