Album Review: ‘The Ride’- Catfish and The Bottlemen

Album: Catfish and The Bottlemen, ‘The Ride’

Review by Louise Belcher

Following on from the huge success of their debut album, The Balcony, Catfish and The Bottlemen are back with another set of pumping festival anthems, and unchanging tales of girls, and life on tour; told through the familiarly fervent vocals of Van McCann. Catfish’s straightforward brand of fast-paced, sing-along indie rock, has undoubtedly filled a Brit-pop shaped hole in the British music industry. Whilst this was a much needed breath of fresh air with the anthem-filled release of The Balcony, the obvious desire to replicate the success of this in The Ride, in tracks such as Postpone, can seem a tad repetitive. Despite this, 7 kicks the album off well- with sharp, spangly guitar riffs, and intelligent and palpable lyrics. Twice and Soundtrack follow in similar fashion, featured as angsty indie anthems, with catchy hooks- showcasing what Catfish does best. Likewise, Oxygen is a notable track, nodding to the band’s heroes Oasis, with uncaring lyrics, and animated melodies- similar to that of The Importance of being Idle. Heathrow also has echoes of slower, ‘Gallagher-esque’ vocals, whilst offering a break from the frantic drum-bashing and heavy riffs. Thereby allowing McCann’s softer voice to be showcased- and both tracks are stand-out on the album. Glasgow is also a notable acoustic offering, adding a hint of diversity to the track-list, as a sweet, harmless dedication to the Scottish city. Yet, the overall lack of experimentation, allows The (metaphorical) Ride to be a rather, lacklustre affair. Their formulaic use of a number of catchy hooks and head-banging lyrics will undeniably wow ardent fans in festival fields- cementing their place in British music. However, by playing it rather safe, Catfish have not quite been able to match the fresh, and welcomed, heady sounds of their first album.