After just a two year break, The Fratellis are back with their fourth studio album 'Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied'. The follow-up to 'We Need Medicine', which received a fairly muted reception, the new album is the sound of a mature and confident band who are making the music that they really want to. It's an album with some big sounds and catchy tunes, and with Americana and country entwined throughout.
'Me and the Devil' is a big, powerful opening track that makes you sit up and really pay attention. It's a strong opener that would be at home in any stadium. But it's then followed by 'Imposters (Little By Little)', which, despite its catchiness, is at odds with its predecessor. This is where you're back to the band's standard sound of catchy tunes that do the job but are, sadly, fairly forgettable. That's not to say there aren't some very good songs on the album: 'Baby Don't You Lie To Me!' and 'Thief' are big tunes that will definitely be hits with fans on the next tour, but these are lost between less memorable tracks such as 'Dogtown' and 'Getting Surreal'. 'Rosanna' is a fun and cheeky highlight in the middle of the album, and 'Too Much Wine' takes you back to the sound of the early Fratellis.
The saving grace of the album is really just how much you can tell that The Fratellis are enjoying themselves. This sounds like the album they've always wanted to make, and when the album is good, it's very good, but unfortunately it's just missing something truly catchy and memorable. The songs seem a little mismatched at times, and there's no real over-riding sound to the album. It's well-crafted and an easy listen, but it doesn't leave you wanting more.
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