Album Review – Catfish and The Bottlemen “The Balcony”

Released today with Island Records, “The Balcony” is the debut album from Llandudno-based quartet Catfish and The Bottlemen. Apparently inspired by a busker in Australia (lead singer Van McCann’s home), the name of the band is questionable. What is not questionable, however, is the quality of yet another British band’s first LP. Maybe it’s time to disregard the fact it is a debut and take it as any other album would be taken.

Okay, so they may be clinging to mid-noughties nostalgia, but this doesn’t take away from the quality of song writing that they have progressively shown since their formation in 2010.

The youthful energy that would suit a freshers night this month is asserted from opening track “Homesick”, followed by arguably the most popular track, and one of their 2014 singles “Kathleen”. The lyric “f*ck it if they talk” stands out from the third track “Cocoon”. After 5 tracks of powerful guitar and crashing drums, “Hourglass” acts as light semi-acoustic relief, it could just have done with coming a little earlier. It is more delicate, which is refreshing. The band are on the edge of being one-dimensional, which relights the argument of dying cliché indie rock. Catfish and The Bottlemen are stuck between a good Lostprophets (are you allowed to mention them anymore?) and a poor Johnny Marr.

“The Balcony” is good, but there is room for improvement. This is exciting, but it is how good this four-piece’s next work is that will determine how serious they are to be taken. And as for comparisons between them and Royal Blood, which have somehow appeared on social media, the latter get my vote. The review of their new album is here: http://wp.me/p4EbTc-1d

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