The Fratellis R Good Enough

The Fratellis R Good Enough

A review of Costello Music, the debut album from the Fratellis:

This band (which is apparently not named after the villainous gang from The Goonies, or so they claim) was awarded the highly-coveted “Best New Bum Band in Britain” award by Brit music rag the NME last August, so it was only a matter of time before their ultra-hip unwashed act washed up on our shores. Honestly, I’m surprised it took this long. Compared to the Arctic Monkeys, the Fratellis are moving about as fast as Chester Copperpot.

No matter, though. These guys have got the goods; Costello Music is bursting at the seams with charismatic, high-powered pop rock, the kind teenage girls love bopping along to while driving to retail shoe outlets. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn this CD was adapted from a hit Broadway musical; each song is a show-stopper unto itself. From the histrionic ho-down of “Creeping Up The Backstairs” to the dive-bombing trumpets of “Cuntry Boys & City Girls” to the Jolson-eque call of “rock a honey, rock a honey, woo woo!” in “Vince the Lovable Stoner” — the whole album conjures up mental images of hunky young men dashing across a stage, all vying for the love of one elusive, quirky ingénue (perhaps played by Joely Fisher, assuming she can still pass for nineteen).

Of course, this could be the Fratellis’ downfall; they may be too cute for their own good. That’s the number one killer of bands like this. Aim for the college crowd (who tend to burn out real fast on hip rock), land middle schoolers (who don’t know the meaning of the word “overkill”). How many of your friends’ kids like/used to like Jet? I rest my case. In this sense, the Frats (I sincerely hope I am the first to coin this adorable shortening of their name) had better watch out. They’ve got a boatload of peppy songs about misadventures with girls and an iPod commercial already under their belt. How long will it before they’re opening for the sinking ship that is Oasis (the grandfathers of the post-grunge British Invasion)?

Perhaps I’m jumping the gun on these three rumpled Scotsman. Although it would be foolish to predict a long, fruitful career a la fellow iPod rockers U2, the Fratellis do seem to have enough synergy to truffle shuffle themselves over at least two more albums. If they keep up the fresh approach to songwriting and hold off on a “Saturday Night Live” appearance until most of America has finished downloading Costello Music, they should escape that treacherous “flavor of the month” tag.

Oh, and come clean about The Goonies connection, will you, boys? The elusive name origin game is soooo 1992. No one’s asking you to adopt Sloth as your mascot or take Corey Feldman out on tour with you (actually, that would probably keep him out of a lot of trouble). Just be honest and America will love you that much more.

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