It has been five years since the last Fratellis record. Five years!!! In those five years, a lot has happened. Chart music became dominated by a plague of generic bleeps and shallow melodies whilst The Enemy, The Pigeon Detectives and Bloc Party all slowly evaporated into thin air. They got Bin Laden and Gaddafi and some bald guy with a goatee changed the face of television drama as we know it. So with all that said and done and five years is a long time, was there any need to make We Need Medicine and are The Fratellis still relevant?
We Need Medicine proves just that and sees the band shake off the shackles of their glam past and turn up the blues rock to 11. If you think of Fratellis albums as night outs then We Need Medicine is more of a few pints down the local rather than twenty jagers, a gallon of vodka and ten sambucas that Costello Music was. The ballsiness and looseness that dominated a lot of their early work has been toned down a lot on the record, which at times can be a good thing because it shows maturity and growth but some of the less rowdy moments see the band paddling in conservative waters. For the most part however, the album is a enjoyable listen that boasts a more mature, well crafted and sober bluesy rock sound for the band, the new sound doesn’t cut off the original crazed Fratelli spirit yet fans of the group who were expecting a album drenched into pub rock anthems may be a little disappointed.
Highlights of the album include the swaggering ‘She’s Not Gone Yet But She’s Leaving’ which boasts a stomping drum beat and razor sharp guitar riff. The excitable ‘We Need Medicine’ showcases the new Fratelli bluesy rock sound whilst the main album highlight ‘Jeannie Nitro’ plays like a version of ‘Young Turks’ by Rod Stewart that has all the synths and drum machines trimmed in exchange of swooning guitars.
Overall despite it’s sometimes conservative moments, We Need Medicine is a great record that takes the original crazed Fratelli spirit and tones into something a bit more mature and a bit sober.