Scottish trio The Fratellis have been dismissed by some as major label Arctic Monkeys clones or, worse yet, just another soon-to-be-forgotten act that was briefly lucky enough to have a catchy track ("Flathead") featured in an iPod ad. But after living with their debut, Costello Music, for a few weeks now, I have to give them more credit than that. Sure, they seem to have nicked the early Arctics template a bit -- tight, distinctly British pub rock brimming with killer riffs and big, sing-along choruses -- but it's not like that's a bad thing, and on more than a few tracks, they distinguish themselves nicely, with skillful songwriting and some great musicianship. "Henrietta" has enough hooks for three songs, single "Chelsea Dagger" is a rollicking good time, with a Gary Glitter drumbeat, T-Rex guitars and a chorus made to be chanted in unison by drunk lads in bars, and "Creepin' Up The Back Stairs" alternates between modern thrash and harmonies that would have been at home at the Cavern Club in early 60s Liverpool. Best of all, though, is the one true ballad, "Whistle For The Choir," which will surely have a place on any "favorite songs of the year" mix I may be putting together in 7 months or so.
MP3: The Fratellis - "Whistle For The Choir" from Costello Music