“Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied” Excellent Alternative Rock from the Fratellis

5 Nov

The Fratellis are an alternative rock band from Scotland. Group members include lead vocalist and guitarist, Jon Fratelli (real name, John Lawler), bass player Barry Fratelli (actually Barry Wallace) and drummer and vocalist Mince Fratelli (Gordon McRory). Since their founding in 2006, the Fratellis have released four albums — including their latest, Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied.

On this expansive, 18-track opus with a running time of 1 hour 11 minutes, the band deftly moves among a variety of musical styles: the theatrical rock of “Me and the Devil,” the electric Americana of “Imposters (Little by Little),” the old-fashioned rock ‘n roll of “Baby Don’t Lie to Me!” and the garage rock of “Rosanna”— with elements of orchestral rock mixed in as well.

The 18 tracks on the album include five at the end that are acoustic versions of “Imposters (Little by Little),” “Desperate Guy,” “Rosanna,” “Slow,” and “Moonshine.”

Album opener, “Me and the Devil” starts with a little spooky synth-theremin — dissolving into a piano-driven, prog-rock arrangement that could have come right out of the early 1970s. Jon’s lead vocals evoke Brandon Flowers in their theatricality, and the catchy melody makes this a standout on the CD.

“Imposters (Little by Little)” offers a bit of twang-y Americana. Mince’s rhythm is like a train on the tracks. Great guitar work adds a nice finishing touch.

Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright (for Fighting)” comes to mind from the first notes of “Baby Don’t You Lie to Me!” The band can really rock, and I’ll bet this would be great live.

“Desperate Guy” is an example of outstanding alternative pop-rock. Again, the Fratellis’ melodies are incredibly memorable, and will stay with you long after you’ve finished listening.

A quick comment about “Thief” — dude, the opening of this sounds a lot like the melody that runs through the “Ghostbusters” song. The phrase is heard several times — even though the song then goes off in different directions. So, no copyright violations.

“Too Much Wine” is another great old time rock n’ roll song with outstanding guitar licks.

Although there’s one more track before the acoustic versions mentioned above, “Down the Road and Back…Again…” serves as a good closer to the main body of the work on the album. It’s reminiscent of a David Bowie tune, talking about the frustrations of learning the same life lessons over and over.

All in all — Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied is a fun alternative rock album worth a good listen.

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