All groups have a history. Sometimes it can be pretty bland or even embarrassing. When that happens, it's time to create a fictional account. Usually, band members agree that's the "way it was." It becomes the official line and everybody sticks to the script. But the Fratellis are the exception.
They either met while employed as fairground workers or in a wedding band. Their name, which in Italian means "brothers" (that would make too much sense), is either Wallace's original surname or taken from the '85 movie, The Goonies. Regardless, they all sport the same last name, like The Ramones.
Even where they got the title for the group's full-length debut, "Costello Music," has a couple versions. It's either from a studio where the group played or a character's catch-phrase in the flick "Still Crazy."
One of the perks of success is being able to hire backing musicians. In the Fratellis case it was adding a second guitar and keyboards - eventually one person did both - for touring. That can make life a lot easier, especially for a trio.
In late '07, the Fratellis entered the studio to record their follow-up to "Costello Music." "Here We Stand," with the lead single "Mistress Mabel, was released in June ('08).
Despite changing their story or stories with every interview there are "11 Things For Certain About The Fratellis."
The Fratellis play their first gig. It's at O' Henry's bar in Glasgow.
The Fratellis EP, containing "Creepin' Up The Backstairs," is released.
New Musical Express (NME magazine) proclaim the Fratellis "the best new bum band in Britain." There is also a two-page feature story.
The Fratellis go on BBC2's Jonathan Ross Show and deny that their name came from The Goonies movie. The rumor persists.
"Costello Music" is released in the U.K. Critics love it and the album gets to #2.
The Fratellis headline NME's Rock N' Roll Riot Tour.
"Flathead" is featured on Apple's iPod TV commercial. "Chelsea Dagger" appears in an animated Safeway spot.
The "Flathead" EP is released in the U.S.
Radio One listeners vote the Fratellis the Best British Breakthrough Act at the Brit Awards.
"Costello Music" is issued in the U.S.
"Here We Stand," with the lead single "Mistress Mabel, is released in the U.S.
It's fairly easy to mirror the anger, angst and fear that permeates everyday life. But to put a big smile on it seems gratingly false. There is another possible response. A "what the hell" live for today - or at least the next beer, girlfriend or witty rejoinder- has its attraction. That's where the Fratellis work.
"Costello Music" brings to mind the term "bar room Punk." A few beers and some chords to blow off a little tension. Because the Fratellis are from the U.K., they even inject some sloppy music hall noise. There are moments of dense clutter that give way to a cappella vocals with just a kick drum underneath. The songs are appealing but not cloying. They are the kind of band that takes the word "Tina" and bends it into "Teener" so it rhymes with "seen 'er" ("Ole Black N' Blue Eyes").
There is a swagger to their infectious, seemingly reckless songs. It's just a big mad rush to the finish. There may be an acoustic guitar ("Ole Black N' Blue Eyes"), SKA beat ("Got Ma Nuts For A Hippy"), breakneck tempo change or innocent la-las ("For The Girl") slipped in to do nothing more than provide good natured entertainment.
"Flathead" and "Chelsea Dagger" are but two examples of the band's loose yet direct approach. It's as if to say "yeah, it's a pop thing but what of it?" Kind of like Oasis in the early '90s before they decided to become The Beatles or The Clash without the political agenda.
The Fratellis take their scruffy Brit Punk for another spin on "Here We Stand." Whether they are rolling through an acoustic romp ("A Heady Tale" and "Tell Me A Lie") or plugging in and driving a song home ("Mistress Mabel" and "Shameless"), the Fratellis continue to bring a good natured demeanor - the vocals have an informal busker's charm. They aren't going to think too hard about it because nothing's worse than being "yesterday's heroes in last night's clothes" ("Look Out Sunshine!").