It’s fair to say that Catfish And The Bottlemen have experienced mammoth success since the release of their debut album, what with their ridiculously infectious songs and their awkwardly charming nature (see frontman Van McCann at the Brits). Their energetic shows have become renowned as things not to miss and, with their new album, The Ride, reaching number one in the charts the band show no signs of letting up.
Opening track 7 sees the band switch from guitar driven tunes to allowing the drum to drive the songs, a policy that the whole album seems to follow. The track seems less forceful than the band’s previous work although the formula that worked so effectively on The Balcony remains; simple lyrics and an explosion of a chorus. Whilst the theme of travelling is present, one that can seem cheesy on the majority of second albums, Van manages to keep the songs relatable. Twice sees him cash in on the all too familiar feeling of regret, with the last minute of the song being its pinnacle; the melody slowed down to perfection, allowing McCann to deliver the lyrics with enough attitude to outshine Liam Gallagher. The sweet lyrics of Anything describing the desperate clinging on to a relationship are carefully wrapped in a melody that delivers as much punch as the lyrics do. The softer tone of McCann’s voice is paired perfectly with the heavy hitting drums allowing for the emotion of the song to come through, something which was missing slightly on their debut.
Glasgow marks a turning point in the album, with it being a reflection of the softer second half. The song is the gentlest the band have ever produced, with only the soft twang of an acoustic guitar accompanying the story the band create. Oxygen sees an obviously Oasis inspired melody employed, whilst Emily alludes to their path to stardom with lyrics such as “wrote two tunes that dragged me out of nowhere”. Following the format of The Balcony, last track Outside is the longest track on the album although at no point does it feel like that. It provides an epic finale to the album, with the juxtaposition of the hard, fast melodies and the slow, bare hits of the drum creating a rollercoaster ride before McCann lets rip.
Although it follows the same formula that worked so well on the first album, The Ride shows that the saying of ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it?’ can work to great success, with the result being an album that will surely be the soundtrack of this summer.
For fans of: Arctic Monkeys, Circa Waves, The Vaccines
Words by Clara Duffy
‘The Ride’ by Catfish And The Bottlemen is out now on Island Records.