It’s fair to say that it’s been a whirlwind year for Llandudno quartet, Catfish and the Bottlemen. After becoming firm radio darlings and playing to strong crowds at festivals like Reading and Leeds, their debut album is finally here for audiences to devour.
‘The Balcony’ is, in all honesty, something that’s been resurrected from that special early-noughties breed of indie that died with The Libertines the first time around. That’s not to say that the album’s not a great listen, though, and if there’s a gap in the market, why shouldn’t Catfish and the Bottlemen try their luck?
Songs like ‘Homesick’, ‘Fallout’ and ‘Sidewinder’ are at once frantic and anthemic. From Van’s desperate howls of “we always seem to fall out” to the rock’n’roll guitars – you can tell that this album would go down a treat at a live show, as most of the tracks have proved already. Annoyingly, six of the eleven tracks were already previously available, having been released as singles at some point over the band’s career. Although wanting to include your most well-known songs is understandable, it would have been nice to have seen a wealth of unheard material on ‘The Balcony’, too.
Another issue with the album, however slight, is the use of language in ‘Hourglass’. The acoustic ballad is tainted by Van’s musing of “dreams of you fucking me all night”. It’s not an edgy statement, it upsets the song and makes Van sound a bit like a mopey teenager discovering sex for the first time.
Despite these complaints, ‘The Balcony’ is a sharp, sweet shot of nostalgia with a new face. Watch out, world, Catfish and the Bottlemen are here to stay.
You can buy ‘The Balcony’ on iTunes here.