Catfish and the Bottlemen stormed their way on to the alternative rock scene back in 2014 with the release of their debut album “The Balcony.” The album was a breath of fresh air as it brought back a traditional alt-rock feel, influenced by bands like The Killers.
In 2016, they released the even bigger and louder “The Ride.” A nice follow-up to an already wildly successful group. “The Ride” reestablished the Bottlemen as the loud and fast band the world had come to know and love.
Today, the band dropped their highly anticipated third album, “The Balance.”
The Welsh rockers have been releasing singles leading up to the album for a couple of months now. Kicking off the new era with “Longshot” and their most recent single, “Conversation.” Both tracks reflect the overall sound of the new album, and the band seems keen with sticking with the same sound they’ve had for the past five years.
Unfortunately, that’s not always a good thing.
“The Balance” is exactly what we have come to expect from the Bottlemen. And after a while, that sound gets boring. The band has three albums under their belt with five years of touring and releases behind them and they’re still releasing the same type of music they’ve been putting out since day one.
That’s not to say that “The Balance” is a bad album. It’s just the same music that the Bottlemen have been putting out for years. There’s nothing innovative. Nothing new.
For lead singer Van McCann, that’s exactly what they want the band to do. He wants to stay inside this sound that he and his band have created. And “The Balance” has accomplished just that.
“Longshot” feels exactly the single “Twice” on their sophomore album. McCann’s distinct vocals get lost on the musically repetitive “Encore.” “Coincide” sounds messy and uncoordinated and just a carbon copy of another track off the album, “Sidetrack.”
The only new sound the Bottlemen had is the two-minute-long “Intermission” that comes in towards the end of the album. It’s a slow song, with only a strumming guitar echoing along with McCann’s voice. It’s slower than their normal sound and is sonically appealing.
“The Balance” closes with “Overlap.” Which ends abruptly, in the middle of a lyric and note. What was most likely supposed to be an interesting, attention-grabber just feels like an accidental upload.
For diehard Catfish and the Bottlemen fans, “The Balance” is exactly what they want to hear. But the lack of ambition and playing it safe has left this album on the boring side, with nothing fresh to offer in this new era, “The Balance” is just what you would expect to hear from the band. Nothing more, nothing less.
Stream “The Balance” here: https://open.spotify.com/album/0eELSmJrZpzOKfdO80nJ9r
Article by Lindsey Lanham