Catfish and The Bottlemen’s new album, ‘The Balance’, was released on Thursday night. After leaving a few days to let the album sit after my first listen I feel ready to put my thoughts on the album to paper.
This is a difficult one for me, I love Catfish’s first album, I genuinely think it’s one of the best indie rock albums in 2014. ‘The Ride’, their second album, left me a little disappointed, I felt as though they could have mixed things up, rather than just sticking to their general formula that worked on the first album. ‘The Balance’ on the other hand has left me a bit conflicted.
The album remains very similar to the sound that won them all of their success from the first two albums, but in a much tighter and more exciting package than ‘The Ride’.
If I were to judge the album as its own piece of work, ignoring Catfish’s back catalogue, I would say that it is a very good, well-polished rock album and would be very excited to see where the band would go next. However, seeing as this is their third album, sounding so similar to the previous two, it leaves me wondering what direction they would have gone in had they been a bit more adventurous.
That being said, the album is filled with some really favourable tracks. The second song on the album, “Fluctuate”, impressing me the most. Van’s vocals sound energetic and raw, as he calls out “You’re a blessing in disguise, how did I realise?”.
Overall, what impressed me most about this album, are the instrumentals, all of the tracks are lively and the guitar riffs, in general, are catchy and well written, the band’s sound seems to be improving as the albums go by. The guitar work on “Encore” was particularly impressive with different sounds and licks flowing throughout the song.
“Basically”, is another one of my personal highlights on the album, the guitar sound is smooth and fits well with the disjointed drum beat, it reminds me of The Strokes and other bands from the American garage rock scene.
I have to be honest, going into this album I wasn’t expecting much, I thought it would be bland and completely forgettable, but I was surprised, although, as I mentioned before, I do wish they would mix things up a little bit more with their sound, but, this is a genuinely good rock album. There are some songs that I find a bit forgettable, but I found most of the songs to be really enjoyable and catchy. It’s better than ‘The Ride’, but still not on the same level as ‘The Balcony’.
Words: Alex Thomson