£21.99 – LP
Catfish And The Bottlemen’s new album release, The Balance, follows 2014’s platinum-certified debut, The Balcony and 2016’s gold, number one follow-up, The Ride. Companion to the release of their third album is the anticipation, if not vocal impatience, of their waiting fans and the knowledge within the band that it represents a likely escalation of the successes of the last three years. Three years in which they’ve seen sales of one million albums and, in 2018 alone, nearly a quarter of a million UK fans experiencing them play live.
Four years on, a new Catfish And The Bottlemen record could never sound like The Balcony. The band’s activities supporting their debut album quickly brought festival main stages and US late night television appearances. The Ride propelled them further into UK sell-outs at Don Valley Stadium, Wembley Arena, Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park and Cardiff Castle. Significantly, it also invited more quality time with global fans on tours to the USA, South America, Australia and Japan. Some of frontman Van McCann’s youthful restlessness on record, a distinct and endearing awkwardness as he approached relationships with friends and lovers, was destined to evolve with each, giant step.
The first snapshot of a new album, “Fluctuate”, performed throughout summer 2018, teased out a lean, refreshed version of everything Catfish fans find so easy so to love. McCann performed what sounded like a personal diary entry and he sang it to them, about them, for them and with them. They, typically, soon started to sing every word back. What had changed, subtly, was the cool, open air in which the song was allowed to hang, McCann’s rhythmic delivery in each verse pinned to the bass and drums, saving the collective push for a supercharged chorus. It’s a progression that remains satisfyingly inside the box.