The Fratellis Did Los Angeles In Their Own Sweet Time THOUGHTS+PHOTOS: THE FRATELLIS @ THE BELASCO 5/1/18
LOS ANGELES, CA- I remember the day I purchased “Costello Music”. I was working on a hip-hop matter and needed to “research” some music, so I decided to head to the local record store (I think it was a Wherehouse) to purchase some albums.
As I meandered through the rows of compact discs, I saw the album cover of The Fratelli’s “Costello Music” which on a rack of new releases that were on sale. For some reason, I was drawn to this illustrated image of three women lounging around in chic lingerie listening to a record and boozing it up. I wasn’t familiar with the band, but I just felt compelled to to spend a few extra bucks to check it out (album art has always mattered) and added it to the stack of hip-hop CDs I had purchased for work.
As soon as I got into the car, “Costello Music” was the first CD I unwrapped. I popped it into my car’s CD player and let it play. That disc stayed in the CD tray for at least a week straight. I was hooked.
There was something fun and spontaneous about this brash British band’s sound. There were a handful British bands that were making some noise during this time, but The Fratelli’s were making music that was unabashedly fun. It was almost like they were the outlier of the “popular kids”, effortlessly making music that just made you want to move your feet and sing along. They seemed to throw in every single type of musical style into a pot and churned out with catchy ditties that were bound to leave a smile on your face. “Costello Music” and “Here We Stand” are two albums that I still spin consistently on my digital player. If I see a jukebox in a bar, I’ll check to see whether they have “Flathead” or “Chelsea Dagger” available to play.
Earlier this year, The Fratellis released their fifth studio album ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’. The album was produced by Tony Hoffer, the same producer who worked on “Costello Music”.
In the same way that “Costello Music” surprised me with its carefree and reckless attitude and sonics, “In Your Own Sweet Time” sees The Fratellis taking a step into another adventurous direction. The production is sharp and polished, with lyrics and melodies that even more hummable/memorable than than ever. The music’s still got the same Fratelli’s attitude and sense of humor, but it’s garage/indie rock with a significant pop polish.
Touring in support of “In Your Own Sweet Time”, the band dropped by the Belasco in Los Angeles and gave fans 22 songs worth of pure joy and energy. The set, to my surprise, only featured six cuts from their latest effort. I wouldn’t have minded hearing a few more of the newer cuts like “The Next Time We Wed” or “I Guess … I Suppose”, but I think that the Fratelli’s know what butters their bread, and made sure that their long-time fans got their fill of the foot stomping, arena worthy sonics that are so beloved.
I couldn’t help but smile as songs I’ve been listening on for over a decade … selected on essentially a whim … were being sung by the entire audience. “Flathead”, “Chelsea Dagger”, “Baby Fratelli”, “A Heady Tale” … the grin on my face was immovable. I would have loved to hear a few more tracks from “Here We Stand” (particularly, “Mistress Mabel” and “Acid Jazz Singer”), but I can’t- and won’t- complain. For my first time seeing them live, it was pretty much everything that I could have wanted.
The energy from both the band and the audience was electric. The overpowering sense of joy in the room when the music was being played. The voices that sang in unison. The hundreds of happy feet that shuffled to the beat. The Fratellis did it all in their own sweet time, and it was perfect.