Catfish and the Bottlemen’s third album The Balance has been long awaited by fans as it comes after a 3-year hiatus since their second album, The Ride. Since January this year, they’ve been teasing the release of this majorly anticipated album. The album opener Longshot, the first single from the new album – fuelled with risk and riot, intensified the excitement of the release of The Balance. A series of warm-up arena shows followed, debuting the then unreleased Sidetrack, and dropping follow-up singles Fluctuate, 2all and Conversation.
2all is beautifully passionate symbol of love and affection, yet still classically Catfish with the underpinning roar of the rumbling riff. As for lyrics, the gentle joy and delight are non-typical for the band – delicately subtle but still poignant enough to stand out. The rest of tracks follow this pattern, the lyrics have a simplistic memorability to them which diverts from the heaviness and perhaps complexities of the standard Catfish vibes.
Catfish And The Bottlemen – Longshot
But to contrast, the captivating guitars sounds build the excitement up through each of the tracks, Intermission for example, perfectly lively guitar to accentuate Van’s voice, then Mission plays straight after and plummets into more fast-paced rogue sounds.
Apparent in many of the songs there is a boisterous build up, like a battle or fight which fuels passion and desire. I wouldn’t say there’s any defining sad or slow song like there has been in previous albums, yes Intermission is more chilled than the others – it isn’t as relaxing to me, or as typically ‘ballad-sounding’ as Hourglass or Heathrow from The Ride and The Balcony. Yet there are subtle undertones of this elegance and minimalism in each song, either through the lyrics or the rhythms and melodies.
Catfish And The Bottlemen – 2all
Perhaps the evolution towards a heavier indie rock sound shows that The Balance is a true reflection of the band’s brief hiatus, and a more direct link to their relationship with their fans. Either way this album is golden, the songs are undeniably classic Catfish, but they suit and compliment the new era of the Bottlemen.