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CD of The Week

Week of 4/19/21

    The Fratellis - Half Drunk Under a Full Moon (Cooking Vinyl)

    Scottish rockers (and unlikely heroes of Chicago hockey fans) The Fratellis are back with their sixth album, Half Drunk Under a Full Moon. Delayed from 2020 by the pandemic, Half Drunk… finds the band of (not actually) brothers adding plenty of bells and whistles to their sturdy songwriting.

    It’s not like The Fratellis have been stuck in their guitar-rock groove for over a decade or anything, but Half Drunk Under a Full Moon has them playing with a wider palette more than ever. The album opens with the title track and its twinkling, Beach Boys-style instrumentation. In fact, orchestral backing, ‘60s production sounds and unique instrumentation are used throughout Half Drunk… It’s as if the band took Brian Wilson’s bag of Pet Sounds and tried one piece out on each song. See: the organ (or harpsichord?) on “The Last Songbird” and the sleigh bells of “Strangers in the Street.” And those big brassy horns certainly sound great on singles “Need a Little Love” and “Six Days in June.”

    Their songs often have the slightly loungier vibe that Arctic Monkeys have gravitated towards over the years. Both bands aren’t the youthful lads at the bar anymore but more relaxed gents who maybe have been there too long. Lyrically, Jon Fratelli tells stories and sketches of various romantic relationships but not much more.

    The Fratellis don’t make songs as punchy and hooky as those on their debut Costello Music, but that album was almost lightning in a bottle. Half Drunk Under a Full Moon shows that they’re happy to continue to expand their palate of sounds to whatever illuminates their songs.

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    Review by Joey O.

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