I had a bit of a soft spot for The Fratellis. They weren't the best band in the world but I thought they were quirky and original and they produced some catchy tunes. Their albums, though, I found to be a bit of a mixed bag. It seemed as though they were full of ideas, just not all of them worked as well as they should have.
I thought this solo record might be the same, but I was completely wrong. On 'Psycho Jukebox' Jon Fratelli retains some of the quirkiness and originality of his band recordings, but overall the sound is a bit more mature. And it is massively more consistent than anything he's done before. There are eleven tracks on here and every single one of them is decent. Quite a few of them are exceptional. The benchmark is a lot higher than it was on, say, 'Costello Music'.
There are some evident 70s influences here and there - Bowie, T-Rex, even Thin Lizzy. But they're all filtered through Fratelli's ear for a great tune. This isn't intended to put anyone off, but in places it sounds a little bit like The Stereophonics even - but The Stereophonics on a very very good day. My favourites are Santo Domingo which has a great, original singalong quality to it, and Magic & Mayhem with its superb chorus.
As a statement of intent for what Jon Fratelli wants his solo career to be, this album is just about perfect. If he keeps it up he could end up becoming a bit of a British rock institution. Brilliant stuff.
on 30 July 2011
Being a fan of the Fratelli's (and the Codeine velvet club album) i wondered if Jon Fratelli's first solo effort would be the same as said band or a wild self indulgent departure from the music that made you like him in the first place. (A mistake that some band members who turn solo can easily make!)
Well i have to say that after listening to the first track i thought it would be the former,the chorus even sounds the same as Cigarello!(No bad thing but well....) BUT the tracks that followed were Jon Fratteli really coming into his own and certainly aren't a wild self indulgent departure,far from it,just really well crafted and executed songs by a much underrated songwriter,lyricist and singer.
Standout tracks?..........Pretty much all of them!
'Psycho Jukebox' was the first, and so far only solo offering Jon Fratelli, the frontman of Scottish band The Fratellis who had enchanted us indie-rock music lovers with infectiously catchy hits like 'Chelsea Dagger' and 'Whistle for the Choir'. This album was released in 2011, but received limited promotion, and as a result failed to have any major impact in the charts like it deserved to. If you enjoyed the sound of The Fratellis, then I think it's very unlikely that you should not enjoy the sound of this.
'Daddy Won't Pay Your Bill', 'Rhythm Doesn't Make You A Dancer', and the very catchy 'Baby, We're Refugee' are three particularly noteworthy songs, with catchy hooks. The whole of 'Psycho Jukebox' is rather samey, despite various flavours of indie-rock, pop, R+B, country, even some 1970s-isque sounds, but it's good samey. Despite having the same energy and quirkiness, this isn't an album which sounds exactly like a collection of left over Fratellis tracks, the lyrics are more mature lyrics, and they have a more stripped-back sound, allowing Jon's energetic and husky Scottish vocals to really shine through. He's a considerable singer and songwriter, and this album should have cemented this.
on 6 May 2013
I saw Codeine Velvet Club when they played London a few years ago. I already loved the Fratellis, this was an exciting and different project of Jon's. I can't stop listening to this album. Jon and Lou Hickey harmonize beautifully, she is really something and of course Jon is a legend. It deserves 5 stars and the only reason I'm giving it 4 is that there are some b sides that should have been on the record too, but aren't. Love this and it's sexy groove.
on 9 June 2012
If you like the Fratellis, then chances are you will like this too. Its very similar, to the point of even being a bit samey. Some reveiwers have described it as a lazy album, but if you like this style and Jon's voice, then you probably can't go far wrong with this album.