So it’s been a long time coming. A band I have followed, enjoyed watching live countless time and even felt a sense of pride in whilst watching them grow.
It was almost two years ago that I watched these guys for third time supporting The 1975 and in my review I said that both The 1975 and Catfish and The Bottlemen have stardom waiting for them.
How right I was.
In excitement for The Balcony I read previews, a lot of people seem to dislike what they have heard of the album. One review even claimed this sort of thing was “out-dated”.
How wrong they were.
Opening song Homesick was fittingly the first single off the album to be released, a song that sums up the album within the opening minute, it’s melodic, heartfelt and then becomes explosive.
Second track Kathleen’s opening riff holds as much importance to the noughties guitar music that Franz Ferdinand’s “floorfiller” Take Me Out once did. This song truly showed the turning of the band when it was released and for me personally does nothing but proves their worth.
Third track, Cocoon, opening again with a full on bashing of a chord, pointed out by vocalist Van McCann as being stolen from Bartender and The Thief – Stereophonics is nothing but a worthy reference. The energy from this song is simply reckless, like a Wrecking Ball (minus Miley Cyrus, sadly). Lyrically audacious, the simplicity yet heartfelt sentiment is surprisingly poignant.
Fourth track, Fallout, surprisingly my least favourite from the album, not that it’s a bad song, it’s quite the opposite. It just seems to lack the same kind of umph that the other singles had, however the obscure lyrics at the end see I was a test tube baby that’s why nobody gets me/ see I struggle to sleep at night but it’s fine she doesn’t let me – are not only probably the weirdest lyrics I’ve heard in a while but are actually probably the best.
Fifth track, the wavey yet powerful, Pacifier, what seems to be a live recording (I could be wrong) makes sense, there’s a certain drive behind this song that can only be captured by watching or hearing it be played live – it’s particularly louder that way.
The softest moment of the album comes in the form of the song, Hourglass. With lyrics that only testosterone filled 16 year old boys would understand this song speaks to all the right people, and much like an Ogre, under the hard exterior (the almost unnecessary swearing) this song is truly quite beautiful.
The two tracks Business and 26 resemble that of a very early Editors, the down beat minimalistic guitar accompanied by the dark lyrics with an upbeat chorus in Business shadow that of tracks such as All Sparks.
The same can be said about 26, the explosive opening takes you way back to the likes of Escape The Nest – Editors. However, it lacks the insecurities evident in those songs, in fact it boasts confidence. They know what they’re doing and they have no shame in hiding how well they’re actually doing it. There is undoubtedly a certain type of “New York swagger” about this song and it appears that even after all of this time they have still stayed true to their original sound.
Next track Rango, is an even fatter version of what was released as the single, but still just as brilliant. The lyrics in this song particularly appear to be Van McCann at his best; the middle-eight is stripped back and a true pleasure to listen to. This is by far the best song on the album.
The two most important tracks on this album are Sidewinder and Tyrants. Sidewinder has been a solid one in their Set List every time I have seen them. Truthfully, almost like a fine wine it gets better with age and after this album has finally reached the masses, which it will, they will be drinking nothing but the finest of wines. (I needn’t review Tyrants, it explains itself, like a fine tin of Ronseal.)
They’ve proven those reviews wrong, guitar music is not dead, it has only been reinvigorated by this wonderful debut album. It’s full of energy like a young hungry Sunday league team.
Well done, lads.