Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Flynndie Reviews - Blog #25: Catfish and the Bottlemen - The Beautiful Decay EP/Broken Army single

Written 16th May 2012:

Catfish and the Bottlemen – The Beautiful Decay EP and Broken Army single

The Band: Van McCann (vocals/guitar), Billy Blakeway (guitar), Benji Bibby (bass/vocals) Dr. Bob (Drums)

So it’s been a while since my last Indie review on here, but I’ve decided to review an EP of a very much up and coming band I’ve recently stumbled across on Twitter and have really being getting into lately Catfish and the Bottlemen. Originally hailing from Llandudno, these four, young Welsh lads are intent on making it big with their explosive, full-on rock ‘n’ roll Indie style, so I’ve decided today to cover their ‘The Beautiful Decay EP’ in today’s review in particular, as from what I’ve heard from the band so far, this EP really encapsulates the sound that they are all about. Also as an added bonus I’ve also decided to review their most recent single ‘Broken Army’.  So let’s get this show on the road then.

The Beautiful Decay EP:

1. Sidewinder
2. Bodies
3. Harlot
4. Collide
5. Tyrants
6. Trippin'

So the EP gets underway with previous early single ‘Sidewinder’, gentling starting with light-guitar strumming, before an early trademark rock ‘n’ roll guitar solo assaults the listener’s ear and sets the pace for the track, and the EP, as a whole. Van’s distinct vocals, paint the picture of a young couple’s relationship with great lines such as “Give me some/Assumptions I/Can make of you/Cause you’re getting lazy/You used to frustrate me” setting the tone of images for the style of songs that the band tend to produce. The infectious guitar solo from the start swaggers in again halfway through the track nicely and on the whole this opening track gets this EP off to a good start.

‘Bodies’ follows up next and steps-up the early pace set by opening track ‘Sidewinder’ by another gear or two, with guitars frantically duelling for supremacy while opening the track before lyrics hint at a couple’s relationship being strained by outside interference of other people. The track has a nice desperate, unwinding instrumental bridge in the middle of it before the powerful lines “Please get me/Away from him/As he’s starting to do my head right in”, and the final part of the track sees the band rocking out nicely, and the song as a whole has a nice pace about it and flows along effortlessly. Third track ‘Harlot’ follows up next and really has a bouncy rhythm to it throughout, yet still retaining the jagged guitar sound that the band achieves throughout the EP. Layered with catchy guitar riffs and solos over it, the track maintains the flow of the record again nicely, and we see some of the more powerful vocals on display on the EP from Van in particular on this track.

Next up ‘Collide’ continues to maintain the momentum of the EP again with duelling guitars throughout it, but this time with some emphasis on distortion backing the fast and furious paced verses, the band effortlessly get the balance between the two just right, probably due to their dedicated, commitment of playing ‘live’ shows. Penultimate track ‘Tyrants’ follows and slows the pace of the EP arguably for the first time but in a good way naturally. Somewhat of a light rock-ballad, the track features guitar with a slight echo effect initially as the track, slowly burns and builds itself through its opening verse, before unleashing bursts of guitar heavy rock. The 2nd half of the track features an excellent Indie riff, again slowly building and closing this excellent track, before blending smoothly into final track ‘Trippin’, an instrumental which sees the band close the EP, in their now familiar style of fast, frenetic guitar-rock.

I’ve been listening to this EP for a few weeks now and I must say it has been on heavy rotation on my playlist of late, simply due to the manner in which the band have effortlessly created their own, unique, catchy rock ‘n’ roll sound, with simple but engrossing tales summing up the parts of their songs.  You can tell that this band really care and believe in the songs they write and prove this with their dedication to constant touring and ‘live’ shows. I would happily award this EP 8 'Tyrants' out of 10, as I’m very much into the band’s big, explosive rock ‘n’ roll sound and I’m really looking forward to an album from Catfish and the Bottlemen, which I’m hoping they may put out later this year. However, for the time being this ‘The Beautiful Decay EP’ is a great introduction to an up-and-coming band that show so much promise, so feel free to check the EP out on the band’s website

But, woooah, hold on, because as I promised earlier I was also going to cover the band’s most recent single ‘Broken Army’ which was actually the first track I heard by the band and was released last month and is also still available from the band’s website. With an initial aggressive, rock riff ‘Broken Army’ is another catchy Indie rock track, but somewhat more at a controlled pace, layered with a nice balance of duelling guitars and distortion, before the track’s infectious chorus bursts through and teases the listener “Keep Breathing/Keep Breathing/Settle down you’re home and I guess you got what you came for” being belted out by Van. It’s an excellent single and I’d advise you to go check it out. The single is backed with b-side ‘Ayatollah’ and is possibly the most alluring track by the band to date, again suggesting and hinting at a young couple’s relationship, the smooth guitar’s throughout gently take the hand of the listener and runs off into the night with the listener being entwined in the tangle of the tale being told by the band here.

So as you can no doubt tell, I’m really liking what I’ve heard so far from Catfish and the Bottlemen, we’re talking good fun, rock ‘n’ roll tracks, that have an air of confidence and a swagger about them but never taking themselves too seriously which in all adds up to a nice, distinct sound for the band and certainly one to keep an eye out for in the future, which I very much plan to do so.

Simply Decaying ‘Flynny’

Single ‘Broken Army’

Track 1 ‘Sidewinder’

Track 2 ‘Bodies’