steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Fratellis

"Here We Stand" CD

Cherry Tree Records / Island / Interscope

Genre: rock, indie rock, garage rock

Aug 21 2008

It isn't easy being a Fratelli. Here We Stand came out the same week as Coldplay's Viva la Vida, and although the two bands have little in common, it's hard to compete with a record that sells three hundred thousand units in its first day. Still, The Fratellis sound as spirited as ever on this eleven track album, throwing down convincing power chords and cheerily infectious choruses not quite like no other.

The record's best song also happens to be its first single, "Mistress Mabel." Tailor-made for rock radio, it features a bouncy guitar part, a strong vocal melody, and even an exuberant solo - fans of Jet, Ok Go, and of course the last Fratellis album will have no reason to complain. Also charming is the Brit-pop of fun and zealous "A Heady Tale," while Strokes-esque ballad "Babydoll" boasts an uplifting chorus partly snatched from Rockpile's "Now and Always." Meanwhile, second single "Look Out Sunshine!" has a plodding climax that is not bereft of hooks, though the original selection for single two, "Lupe Brown," is a somewhat more interesting song.

Of course, the news isn't uniformly good. "Shameless" is tedious for all but two seconds of each chorus, and even then it's derivative of so much other bland hard rock. Grungy "Stragglers Moon," meanwhile, could have been a well-placed break in tone for Here We Stand, but it is missing the sort of catchiness that would make it memorable rather than just vaguely familiar. I also can't help but shift in my seat whenever the heavy but excruciatingly bland "Tell Me a Lie" comes on.

I'm not quite sure why Here We Stand has been garnering mixed reviews, because it's a pretty matter-of-fact record. Fifty minutes of rock and the occasional slow bit, infectious but not unhip melodies, some hits and some misses, but overall a straightforward modern pop album. Did you expect anything else?

the fratellis' myspace


youuuuuuuutube!: mistress mabel video, a heady tale live

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by Amazon, released June 9, 2008]