Along with the View and up-and-comers the 1990s, another Scottish band — Glasgow’s Fratellis — have given all of our track-top-wearing friends over in the U.K. yet another young guitar band to get excited about. The band’s debut, Costello Music, doesn’t contain the kind of soul that will make the Fratellis anyone’s favorite band, but it does have the kind of punchy power pop that’s ridiculously fun to listen to. The tunes on Costello Music are just too good to be denied.
There’s “Flathead,” soundtrack of the latest iPod commercial, with its Cash-lite strut and out-of-nowhere bah-dap-bahs. Supporters of off-brand MP3 players will be happy to learn, I’m sure, that it’s not the album’s best track; that honor goes to “Henrietta,” which opens Costello Music by grafting some of Supergrass’s goofiness onto a tune that wouldn’t be out of place in the Doherty & Barat songbook. The Fratellis have cooked up a few tracks in a spirit much closer to 1977’s Detroit than 2003’s London. “Chelsea Dagger” and “Baby Fratelli” have the kind of crunchy stomp that coursed through James Franco’s car stereo in Freaks and Geeks. And even when Costello Music is at its most uninspired — “Doginabag” and “Vince the Loveable Stoner!” — the music isn’t that bad.
The Fratellis won’t change your life or any of your top-five lists. What the band will do, however, is give you a few good tunes to throw onto a Saturday night playlist while you wait for the real thing to come along. After all, not everything has to be a classic to be worth enjoying.