The Fratellis deliver a hit of serotonin on yet another standout album
Vicky Greer
10:42 2nd April 2021

It can very easily be argued that The Fratellis have never made a bad album. Although outsiders will refuse to look past Costello Music’s breakthrough anthem ‘Chelsea Dagger’, the more committed listener will know that their subsequent records deserve every bit of hype that their debut got.

With every release, you have to wonder: Is this it? Will they finally make a bad album? On Half Drunk Under A Full Moon, the answer is a resounding no. With more sonic intricacy than ever before and typically gorgeous lyrics, The Fratellis have yet again knocked it out of the park. 

Half Drunk Under A Full Moon opens with a burst of colour in its title track. The chorus is an instant hit of joy with The Fratellis’ classically clever lyrics: “And they all got down to the Cinderella quick step / In living colour cheekbones like Johnny Depp”. The band have a habit of taking more surreal lyrics and crafting a melody that works perfectly. The bridge climbs up to theatrical heights with the repetition of “If you hear the music say yeah” before crashing back into the chorus – pure serotonin. The energy doesn’t falter for a second as we move straight into the deliciously infectious single ‘Need A Little Love’ which further introduces the new sonic avenues that the band are exploring on the new album.

Although these high-energy tracks are their forte, The Fratellis keep things balanced with changes of pace throughout and slower album tracks like ‘Action Replay’ and finale ‘Hello Stranger’. Even within ‘The Last Songbird’ and ‘Living in the Dark’, they don’t limit the pace of individual songs, instead allowing them to speed up and slow down to keep the album dynamic and engaging every step of the way.

Something to be really thankful for is that Half Drunk Under A Full Moon continues the legacy of the layered vocal harmonies and falsettos that defined their last release, In Your Own Sweet Time. Musically, there are some new developments with the instruments that appear, such as the horn section that breathes life into ‘Six Days in June’. But The Fratellis haven’t completely abandoned their roots, as is evident on the bass guitar and drum-heavy ‘Living in the Dark’ and ‘Oh Roxy!’.

Previous single ‘Strangers In The Street’, which originally featured vocals from American soul singer P.P. Arnold, actually doesn’t appear on the album in its collaborative form, with Jon instead on vocals. Still, his rougher, but just as versatile voice is an equally stunning complement to the song. ‘Strangers in the Street’ acts as the emotional highlight, balancing with the giddy highs of ‘Half Drunk Under A Full Moon’ and ‘Six Days in June’.

With every album, The Fratellis tweak and develop their sound to show a new side of themselves, without compromising that part of their music that makes them instantly recognisable. Once again, the lyrics are sensational, and production has reached new heights. Maybe one day The Fratellis will make a bad album, but not this time.

Half Drunk Under A Full Moon is out now.

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Photo: Press