Music Review: Catfish and the Bottlemen, “The Balcony”

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I just recently checked out the first album by Welsh band Catfish and the Bottlemen. The Balcony was released back in September 2014 in the UK. It just had its US debut this month, which I presume is why I am just hearing about them now!

Signed to Island Records, you can definitely hear the influence of producer Jim Abbiss (who you might know from his work with the Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian) in this album. I find it a little reminiscent of AM, but also a lot of early Kings of The_Balcony_Catfish_and_the_BottlemenLeon; listen to ‘Rango’ and I think you’ll have to agree, at least in a musical sense – and the vocals do keep reminding me of a less sexually-saturated Alex Turner. It’s a good combination that gives the feel of having perhaps heard the song before, but it still is fresh enough to enjoy. ‘Kathleen’, the first single, was pretty hot last year and I think got quite a bit of radio play, so it’s definitely familiar.

Lyrically I find the songs pretty interesting, and there’s clear regional influence in the language used — “She deffo didn’t like that” in Pacifier’ and talking about Leeds in ‘Fallout’. Not to say that North Americans won’t understand, just that the lyrics are more colloquially British and it’s pretty charming. The music videos too do nothing to hide their origins, which I imagine does them some favours with the US market.

I think my favourite track from the album is ‘Fallout’. It’s uplifting in a way that I’m finding very suitable for the bleak grey winter days that we’re having in St. John’s. I’m trying to imagine whether I’d like this album as a whole for summer listening (the ultimate test, whether or not I’ll blast it in the car on the coast with the windows down) and I think ‘Fallout’ would convince me to do so. For the time being, it’ll sure help get through the winter blues.

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