On The Balcony, Catfish and the Bottlemen announce themselves as a big emerging British band with a collection of simplistic but catchy anthems designed for singalong moments at live shows. For a debut album this is a solid effort and I’m excited to see what they’ve got nex…….. wait, this isn’t The Balcony?
Yep, they’re at it again. Van (Ryan) McCann and co. have a fairly obvious song formula: McCann sings a run-of-the-mill verse over a bass guitar heavy instrumental, followed by an over-the-top guitar riff to introduce a chanted chorus that probably has angsty shouting vocals. The second verse usually has a stint in which McCann will sing a capella to really highlight his mediocre voice and teenage fandom lyricism before another chorus and a bloated bridge which is saved only by the talent of lead guitarist Johnny Bond. Rinse and repeat, do this eleven times and you’ve got yourself a Catfish & The Bottlemen album.
Unless you couldn’t already tell, bands like this annoy me greatly. What is the point of releasing the exact same thing just because it worked before? If I wanted to hear this I would just go and listen to The Balcony, a clearly better set of songs as they were the freshest of this worn out idea absolutely ripped to death by the Welsh indie rockers. The whole point of being a big time band is progression, moving with the times and differentiating your projects sonically, if you don’t do that then you just become a parody act. Can you guess what I think Catfish have become anyone?
From the very first second I heard Longshot I knew what was coming, more of the same generic songs with loose connections and boring ideas. I guess this new album really does confirm their status as a novelty act, nothing more than a bunch of wannabes making music for people who want to believe that it’s still 1994. Luckily I think we as consumers of a wide range of music have wised to this now, and it won’t be too long before bands like Catfish & The Bottlemen are cast aside.
The Balcony showed promise, The Ride cast doubt and now The Balance has put the final nail in the rusty coffin that was Catfish & The Bottlemen’s artistic credibility. Such a lack of originality and willing to veer away from the same blueprint can only get you so far, and CATB hit their ceiling long ago; so they either need to get imaginative or accept their fate as one of the easiest critical music targets of the decade. Such painful lack of direction will never go unnoticed and you have to feel the honeymoon period is well and truly over for a band who could have been so much more if they had just dared to be a bit more ballsy.