Catfish and the Bottlemen – The Ride
The emergence of quasi-punk indie rock group Catfish and the Bottlemen from unknown hopefuls to a major band with sell-out tours and gold album sales is the stuff of pre-teen rock star wannabe dreams, and obviously this band sells. Their debut record, The Balcony, released in 2015, could be credited with a certain flair for merging indie styles recalling Oasis with dynamic choruses and well produced arrangements. It’s not particularly original, but it has verve.
Although pleasant to listen to, The Ride also seemingly repeats formulas from days gone by. Musically this band is talented, but creatively these guys could muster a little more enthusiasm. It seems the selling point is the idea: “I feel like everybody started thinking too outside the box, trying to be arty and different,” said McCann about The Ride. “We wanted to stay inside the box.” But why?
The 11 songs on the album are fun although redundant. 7 has a promising intro that raises hopes with a solid pounding bassline/drum beat and McCann’s impressive vocals, crescendo, acoustic pseudo-chorus, and lyrics about a long distance relationship: “I love you but I need another year alone”. Twice‘s lyrics are more interesting: “I ain’t ever going back to thinking straight.” Soundcheck, influenced by The Strokes, is basic rock with solo and chorus: “I wanted everything at once…”.
One of the more intriguing tracks, the alternative style Postpone has some grit and Anything‘s slurred guitar solo will be a crowd-pleaser. In Glasgow McCann plays acoustic guitar, singing about a girl who causes him to “do the shit that I never do”. Oxygen shows distinct Oasis influence with treble rifts and artful lyrics: “She says oxygen’s overrated; I don’t even need to breathe’ “
Emily has gentle sound and lyrics via McCann’s smooth vocals “New York surprised me…I must admit, I think I lost my way a bit.” The three-chord format of Red is effective with reverberating chord progression as McCann sings about the frustration of seeing his beloved with a love rival: “Can he do what I do for you?” Acoustic Heathrow, perhaps the only original sounding track on the record, and extended number, Outside, form an upbeat finale.
Catfish and the Bottlemen’s The Ride can’t be accused of being pretentious. It’s a good album by a talented band, but it’s not tremendously innovative – and they don’t seem to mind.
The Ride is released on 27th May 2016, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Soundcheck here:
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