Review by Dom Vigil
No two tracks on The Fratellis’ new album, Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied sound similar. While as a whole, Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied is super catchy, carried heavily by soulful vocals and intricate songwriting, there is a very wide variety between the songs on this album. Transitioning from a few rock ‘n’ roll sounding opening tracks to folk songs, to poppy tracks and ballads, The Fratellis newest release grabs your attention right from the beginning and doesn’t let go until the very last note.
The first track, “Me And The Devil” starts off slow, but only gets bigger and bigger as it progresses, ending with a huge full band supplemented by horns and piano as well. “Me And The Devil” is merely a glimpse of what awaits listeners in the other ten tracks, and as “Impostors” starts off with a very country feeling, it’s apparent that this release is going to keep listeners on their toes.
“Baby Don’t You Lie To Me” takes listeners on another journey with a very rock ‘n’ roll sound, showing within only three tracks that The Fratellis are capable of pretty much everything. Only three songs in, and this album oozes confidence and smart songwriting. The vocals in “Baby Don’t You Lie To Me” are raspy and soulful, and coupled with harmonies that supplement them well and energetic guitar work, this song is one of the strongest on the album. There are also these subtle little moments in the piano parts that really make the song that much better. Staying true to the wild song transitions on the album, the following track, “Desperate Guy” is more on the folky side, but it isn’t lacking in the strong instrumentation and vocal harmonies from “Baby Don’t You Lie To Me.” The exploration between these two very different sounding tracks is executed flawlessly, creating a very versatile mix of sounds without making the album sound choppy.
“Thief” is more fast paced while “Dogtown” is more groovy. I wouldn’t necessarily call “Dogtown” mellow by any means, though, as there is still quite a bit of energy in the instrumentals. In fact, instrumentally, “Dogtown” is one of the strongest tracks on the album, with a catchy guitar hook and a horn section that is sure to blow you away. The key changes throughout the track are effortless and the incredible horn section alongside already strong songwriting sounds amazing.
“Slow” is just that - slow, but not in a bad way. The ballad is a nice break in the otherwise complex and high energy songwriting throughout the majority of the album. While “Slow” is one of the simpler songs on the album, it is also one of the more beautiful tracks. Emotion runs high in the vocals and lyrics, and coupled with softer and simpler songwriting, “Slow” hits hard. Another slower song is the warm closing track, “Moonshine,” which leaves listeners lingering on the lullaby-like quality of songwriting. And if anything speaks to the versatile songwriting on Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied, it’s the difference between the opening track and the final song. No two tracks on Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied sound alike, and while that would normally threaten to make the album sound choppy and all over the place, The Fratellis have found a way to make this release flow incredibly well from one sound to another. Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied is a journey from start to finish.
Listen to "Baby Don't You Lie To Me" or "Dogtown"
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