It seems to me that The Fratellis international debut Costello Music has followed the band as an albatross since its 2006 release. Whether this is fair or not is of little importance as every review seems to have allowed that album to define everything they’ve recorded since.
It really is unfortunate as Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied should stand or fall on its own merits as opposed to the lofty expectations placed on it by someone wishing to relive 2006-07. With that in mind, The Fratellis have leapt into 2015 not by exploring their own past, but those of others to take on new sounds and influences. Carnival like surroundings with a funky beat runs through “Dogtown” and a distinct disco feel on “Thief” has pictures of the dance floor running behind Jon Fratelli’s twist of a phrase.
Even the ever familiar guitar heavy sounds are sometimes suppressed to focus on more atmospheric fare as on “Slow” and “Rossana” which again live and die on Jon Fratelli’s ability to play with his lyrics.
As the songs stand individually each tells a new and interesting story that fit well into the various playlists you might create based on your own mood. Which leads to the only real problem with Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied… its lack of momentum as a whole. A ‘song’ can rock, but ‘songs’ have difficulty sustaining attention over a lengthy period. Like the famous bird/metaphor, it can capture your attention, but whether it is a good omen (album) or bad depends on your plans. Are you looking at the beauty of the bird, or working on a plan to put an arrow through it?