One advantage of late night talk shows is that having musical guests can lead to people discovering some bands that could otherwise be left unknown. One such band was The Fratellis. They came on Late Night with Conan O’ Brien and played “Flathead”, a very catchy song. I was hooked and decided to listen to the rest. But how does the rest of the album Costello Music fare? Not bad, actually. It’s a solid work but like too many albums, very few of the songs rise above the level of memorable. Besides “Flathead”, there are other unforgettable pieces such as “Whistle for the Choir”, the sweetest tune in the album. It’s so good and melancholy that it made me wish that the band had delved more into that kind of songwriting on this album, instead of defaulting into pure feet-tapping rock.
The rest of the album is vivacious and fun to listen to, but it’s hard to imagine anyone listening to all of it more than once. Songs like “Chelsea Dagger” and “Baby Fratelli” have made their appearances in movies like Hot Fuzz and Pitch Perfect, and while entertaining and joyous, they don’t really live up to “Flathead” and “Whistle for the Choir.” One thing that has to be taken into account is that this was their debut album, and even some of the best bands have done a whole lot worse. Ten years later, it has stood the test of time; the great songs are still great and the decent ones are still decent. This may seem like a tough evaluation of the album, but it’s a good work and even if it’s just for something like “Chelsea Dagger”, it’s a good listen and a good debut for anyone looking to listen to The Fratellis for the first time.
If you want to listen to the album yourself, get it right here.