Album Reviews

Catfish and the Bottlemen – The Balcony

Artist:     Catfish and the Bottlemen

Album:     The Balcony

Label:     Communion

Release Date:     01/06/2015

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Snotty yet vulnerable, pissed yet poetic, Welsh quartet Catfish and the Bottlemen (how are they not from the Bayou with a moniker like that?) translate shenanigans and passion into a pumped-up, hard-driving debut album that combines the appealing “F You” attitude of Oasis with the musical hijinks of Jet and Supergrass.

On first listen, band members border on being pure punks, but you quickly come to learn that it’s far from the case. After all, a punk rock band would never use terms like “simpatico” or “acquiesce” (both from the infectious second track “Kathleen”) in their lyrics. Clearly this group stands out because it knows how to use wordplay to its creative advantage.

While The Balcony recalls releases from garage rock revivalists from The Hives to Wolfmother, frontman Van McCann’s intense delivery does strike a strong chord, especially as he recalls the joys of chasing after people who make our dreams come true. “I want to make you my business,” McCann firmly exclaims on “Business,” while he tells haters to screw off on album highlight “Cocoon” (“Fuck it if they talk / Fuck it if they try to get to us / ‘Cause I’d rather go blind / Than let you down”).

“Homesick” and “Fallout” simmer the mood some, but McCann and crew hit upon a winning formula of solo-less ditties that comprise a catchy whole. One listen to this album and you’re sure to get quickly hooked on this breakout band.

– Ira Kantor

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