"It's such a sort of ridiculous thing, but just if they were smiling. It's not to be underestimated." That's how Jon Fratelli, the rather gentlemanly singer at the helm of Scottish rockers The Fratellis handled a question concerning what he hopes his fans take away from one of the band's legendary live shows. "If that's it, then that's absolutely perfect. If we can do that night after night then we're quite happy'.
And you know, in our conversations (which happened when Jon blessed us with a few acoustic performances in session) with Jon and Barry, the two seem to be just that. Happy, content, knowing that their Southern Californian flavored new album Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied is the result of the best possible effort they could put forth on record. How many people can truly say they gave it their best shot? The Fratellis can. If you haven't heard the album please, by all means, give it a whirl. And if you want to learn a little more about the album, Jon and Barry give you the scoop on this wonderful collection of songs in our interview.
that just if they were smiling, it's not to be underestimated. We played the other night in Toronto and there seemed to be a lot of smiling faces. Like, if that's it, then that's absolutely perfect. If we can do that night after night, then we're quite happy. speak for themselves, that's what we gauge things on. Audience reaction and stuff that...reviews and whatnot, I'm sure they're all very lovely, but we don't kinda tend to look at them. - Even the good ones. - Yeah, because you know, they're just getting...so it's just someones opinion, and they're no more important or less important than our opinion on these things. It's best just to put the record out and go out and play it, and that's how you gauge how well it's going. - The jangle's probably more prevalent now, maybe, than it used to be. It was always there and now it's just...we're not ashamed of it anymore. We're not a majorly heavy band, I guess, maybe that's the thing. We have to get by on something else, because we don't have the screaming guitars, you know. We have a loud drummer. Well, little girl You can roll your eyes at the very sight of me Do everything in spite of me But, baby, don't you lie to me Record's called Tongue Tied, no it's not. What's it called? Right...can we do that bit again? Because I don't know what it's called. Yeah, the record's called Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied which rhymes in every accent except Scottish. We made this in October last year in Los Angeles. - Yeah, our producer for this record and the first one, actually, a guy called Tony Hoffer. You know, he gets us and also we work and we kinda know how he works, I guess as well. - Somebody offers you Glasgow in October or Los Angeles in October, it's easy right? He just happens to work there, we made our first record there. I spent a lot of time there. It's a sunshine thing for me, it changes everything completely, and it kind of...not in a hugely obvious way, but it does inform the recording, because you're at ease. Everything's a stroll, you know. I feel like LA's a place to stroll. - Yeah, well it informs your mood, you know, if you're nice and relaxed most days and you went into the studio in that frame of mind, you end up making a sort of relaxing LA sounding record. - Possibly you do your absolute best in the shortest possible time so you can go back out in the sunshine. That may be it. It's clear to see that I'm a desperate guy Pleased to meet you, baby I'm your fool I'm the patron saint of the cruel - It's funny, when we tend to just try to squeeze in as many sort of influences and as we can. I guess we've always sort of done that, but then try and make that a cohesive-sounding record. - But you know like it's not so much on purpose... - Yeah, it just comes out that way. - I have a short attention span, personally. The thing is about this is that there isn't that feeling afterwards that we could've done something better. I think this was honestly, and that month, last October, was absolutely the best we could do, and it sounds like that to me. But I know it, I was there, and I've been there for the other ones and sometimes there's the feeling that we could've tried a bit harder. I don't think I could say that for this one. It's clear to see that I'm a desperate guy - Hi, this is Fratellis... Oh, I need that right? Hi, we're the Fratellis. - And you're watching Baeble Music.
They say that vertigo is not the fear of falling but the fear of wanting to jump. But Jon Fratelli knows no fear. With 'Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied' the new album by The Fratellis, he and the band have jumped from the precipitous heights that three albums (two top 5's), a Brit Award, four sold-out nights at Brixton Academy and countless sell-out shows around the world took them to. Exuding Zen-like calm Jon has embraced the free-fall, abandoned the baggage and has never got on better with his band mates or enjoyed playing live as much as he does now. And boy, does it show.
'Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied' is the sound of freedom. It is the sound of a band at the peak of their powers. An exhilarating trip; it's as much flying as it is falling with style. Listening to it; from the rush of album opener 'Me And The Devil' to the elegant landing of closing track 'Moonshine', it is obvious that The Fratellis are the embodiment of the maxim, leap and the net will appear. This is an album that oozes confidence and verve.
After the release of 2013's 'We Need Medicine', the Glaswegian trio, completed by Barry Fratelli (bass) and Mince Fratelli (drums) spent a year touring the world. At the tail end of 2014, they decamped to LA to work on album number four with Tony Hoffer (M83, Depeche Mode and Belle & Sebastian), who also produced their first album smash 'Costello Music'.
With Hoffer at the helm they were released. The pure enjoyment of 'playing for the fun of it' was back. The band had initially thought they'd produce the record themselves, but with Tony as 'director' all but two of the songs were thrown to the wind and in just four short weeks the album was written and recorded with The Fratellis relishing instrumentation and possibilities they wouldn't have even thought about, without the direction of Hoffer.
That unique, bright clarity of California sunshine seems to permeate the record and the band channelled it to create an album that represents what they do best. At the heart of 'Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied' there's a fun, energetic soul reminiscent of their 2006 debut. It's wonderfully vibrant, playful and the stories and characters it projects embody the spirit of LA (the first place Jon Fratelli ever went to outside Scotland). With recognisable nods to 70s Cali-rock, rockabilly and glorious hints of Americana and country layered high, it's a glorious homecoming with roots in both Scotland and LA.
Littered with standout tracks; The foot stamping 'Baby Don't You Lie To Me!', The spiralling riffs of 'Getting Surreal' and 'Thief' all big choruses and live crowd pleasers. 'Dogtown' parades along with its strident brass section and funk-driven bass line it's early seventies Stevie Wonder covering The Beatles' 'Come Together'. While the delicate, drifting layers of 'Moonshine' bring us to a reflective, poised ending.
Open your mind, take a leap with The Fratellis 'Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied' and the net will catch you.