Formed in Glasgow in March 2005. Fifteen months later, their debut single, Henrietta, hit the Top 20 in the UK singles charts. It’s follow-up, Chelsea Dagger, went astronomical, reaching #2 in August 2006 and was quickly adopted as a terrace chant by football fans, helped by the fact that many match-day announcers of the time used it as the noise to celebrate a home goal.
Debut album, Costello Music, charted at #2 in September 2006, all of which led to the band winning a Brit Award for best breakthrough act in March 2007, as voted for by the listeners of BBC Radio One.
It was around this time that I went along to see them, at a dreadful venue in Edinburgh called The Corn Exchange. I know Mrs V was with me, and I’ve a feeling that we were there with Jacques The Kipper and his missus. In any roads, JtK, or whichever Edinburgh friends we were with, had bought the tickets, or perhaps had won them in a competition or something, I genuinely don’t know.
The gig is up there in my Top 5 worst of all time. The band were lousy in a venue where even the very best of them, such as Blur and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, have failed to overcome the awful acoustics. But in saying that, 99.99% of the audience seemed to be having a good time.
The music is what should be taken into consideration when deciding if a band should be consigned to landfill indie or not. The fact that the three permanent band members go by the names of Jon Fratelli (vocals, lead guitar), Barry Fratelli (bass, backing vocals) and Mince Fratelli (drums, backing vocals) means I’d be likely to chuck it away even without listening. Oh, and they also have a song called Baby Fratelli….
It has to be admitted that The Fratellis knew how to write and record tunes that sounded great blasting out of a radio or being played on a stage in a field in which thousands of drunk or high punters would go a tad loopy for a bit. But there’s really no substance to any of it, is there?
I was surprised, in doing a bit of background research for today, to discover that the band have released a further four albums since Costello Music, with another one due sometime this year, having been held back, along with plans to tour, from 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Can’t say that any of the subsequent material has ever registered with me.
There are numerous copies of the debut CD available via the second-hand market on Discogs, from as little as 1p (plus postage). That’s from a seller in Bulgaria; here in the UK, it’s more common to be 25p or 50p (plus postage).