Welsh rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen aren’t exactly a new band (they’ve been around since 2010) but they released their debut album The Balcony in late 2014. It took a few months for us to catch up to them, but we’re glad we did. After hearing the single “Kathleen” on the radio (yes, the radio – can you believe it!?), our attention was piqued. Their brand of Britpop is in the same vein as The Kooks, early Arctic Monkeys, and a touch of American mainstream pop-rock like the Foo Fighters.
This latter bit makes us a little nervous. They do sometimes veer toward that generic pop-rock sound and saying they’d sound at home on American radio isn’t exactly a vote of confidence. For example, the song “Fallout” drones along unremarkably until the breakdown three minutes in. Then, in comes the Britpop-y charm that makes the song worthwhile. (The video, though, is pretty amazing.) “Pacifier” has a bit of vocal grit and droning guitars that remind us of Kings of Leon’s brand of rock. All fine and well, but nothing particularly stand-out.
But the band has potential. The aforementioned “Kathleen” is memorable and catchy. Catfish haven’t arrived as strongly as Arctic Monkeys in 2006, and they aren’t changing the music scene or doing anything particularly noteworthy, but they have the promise of developing into something special if they find their unique “spark”. We’ll keep our eyes and ears on them.