In 2014 Catfish and the Bottlemen became one of the biggest bands around. Their debut album ‘The Balcony’ reached the top 10 in the UK album charts and 9 in the US Billboard Chart and endless touring alongside festival performances has built on their popularity. The as-yet untitled second album, due to be released this year is one of the most anticipated albums of the 2016.
On Monday the four piece showcased ‘Soundcheck’ on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show. Van and co made a brave choice selecting ‘Soundcheck’ as the first single, with a noticeable change in sound that may not please everybody. Catfish and the Bottlemen could have easily released the biggest chorus from the upcoming album and watched the excitement rise, but instead, they’ve made a statement.
On first listen ‘Soundcheck’ can come across as slightly boring and flat. The majority of the track is a dramatic build up that doesn’t really come to anything and the chorus doesn’t get the time it needs to reach the stadium size quality that they’re capable of writing.
Lyrically Van doesn’t progress much from their debut album ‘The Balcony’ with another personal song about love and loss. But despite this, sonically this is a big step for Catfish and the Bottlemen. The song is a lot darker and showcases a much more mature side instrumentally.
Different layers of guitars in the verse take you by surprise, for a more than pleasing harmony and melody in the pre-chorus. However, a chorus is what Catfish do so well, Van’s voice taking the forefront of the track and it will have everyone shouting the words back to them, but you can’t help wishing it was longer.
As the first real snippet of the second album, one thing is for sure that Catfish and the Bottlemen have developed into something bigger. The band have stadiums in their future and ‘Soundcheck’, despite all the criticism, has a lot of positives to take from and hopefully the track will make a lot more sense when the album is listened to as a whole.