When we hear the name, The Fratellis, most music listeners immediately think about their hit song “Flathead,” “Henrietta,” or “Chelsea Dagger.” The Scottish rock band’s song appeared on the 2007 iPod commercial with the dancing silhouettes, featuring guitar riffs that flowed between intertwined bass lines and stomping percussion.
The Fratellis are vocalist and guitarist Jon Fratelli, bassist Barry Fratelli, and drummer Mince Fratelli, and since their 2005 inception, their catalogue of original music now expands to more than 65 songs, five full-length albums, and 15 music videos. Although their music has primarily focused on driving drumbeats and upbeat melodic tempos, they often do provide a more mellow and laid-back alternative rock listening experience.
For their fans, the wait is almost over. The band will introduce a completely new experience in their sixth full-length album release, “Half Drunk Under a Full Moon.”
“Half Drunk Under a Full Moon” is in a league of its own in comparison to their earlier material spanning 15+ years. Prepare yourself, not only for the journey through the whimsical delivery of Jon’s lyrics, but also for the musical creativity that ebbs and flows from one song to the next. Fans have eagerly awaited the release of their new material after the 2020 spring release was postponed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but on April 2nd, the album will be available in physical and digital form for everyone to enjoy. Unlike many of the albums that came before it, “Half Drunk Under a Full Moon” holds a special place in Jon’s heart.
In this interview, he shares how unique this album is, and the importance of its release during this time of uncertainty and rapid change.
Living a Dream
“Because I may be a begger, and you may be a Queen, I know I may be a Downer, I’m still ready to dream!”
Q: Why the title “Half Drunk Under a Full Moon?”
Jon: “It just kind of happened that way. That is the only explanation needed. The title sets the mood for what the album encompasses as a whole: unhindered creativity with light, boisterous tones. Throughout the entirety of the album, the music delivers waves of emotions ranging from euphoric to melodramatic with the following track sending you into spells of positivity and optimisms. The beauty of this album, much like being half drunk under a full moon, is you can see what’s coming next, but you don’t know what emotion you’ll experience until you feel the music.”
Q: What makes this album so colorful?
Jon: “I never thought of [music] like that, but this album is vague and consistent in sounds with each track delivering kaleidoscopic instrumentation.”
Jon revealed that many of the lyrics on this album came to him in his sleep, making it some of his more eccentric material published, yet the music that supports his lyrics help form the aura/tone of each song. It makes sense as to why this album is some of The Fratellis’ more colorful work after considering that most of the material came from Jon’s dream world. You have to be able to see music in different forms if it is powerful enough to wake you up from a dead sleep at 3 am. Although, most people may not experience synesthesia (seeing music in colors) “Half Drunk Under a Full Moon” truly does take the mind to a special place where melodies become hues of blue, yellow, red and blends in between. Producer Tony Hoffer delivers nothing short of spectacular by blending so many sounds in each song and assuring that the progressing of the track is not stagnant or overwhelmed by any particular instrument.
Q: In your 20+ years playing music, why is this album so special?
Jon: “I am 41 now, I started playing when I was 17. I can finally say that in the last three or four years, I am starting to like my music. We have a chance to be our own biggest fan or biggest critic and often choose to be the latter.“
This album holds a great deal of importance to The Fratellis because while recording each song, Jon had a definitive idea of how the end result needed to sound. Additionally, with a completed idea in his head, Jon also desired a much fuller sound which incorporated horns, orchestra and backing vocals to many of the tracks; a first for the band as well. This made the recording processes lengthier than any project they had done before. The music on “Half Drunk Under a Full Moon” will feel and sound as if it belongs in a musical/play while being some of the most well-orchestrated pop music The Fratellis have released. By taking essences from some of the songs off their previous album, “In Your Own Sweet Time,” and expanding the ideas to their furthest potential, they were able to create an eclectic array of new songs that complement each other well from start to finish. Jon reiterated that this was the destination that the band had been heading towards all along.
Q: What inspired you to work with P.P. Arnold?
Jon: “My son told me that “Strangers in the Street” would sound a lot better if I wasn’t singing it.”
As funny as that statement is, his son meant it in good spirits. He felt that this song would be more inspirational if a female vocalist performed it. He even floated the idea of selling it to someone else. But this song woke Jon up from his sleep at 3 am and had a significant importance. He had a vision of what it needed to become before it could even be recorded. Jon shared that this song needed someone with life experience, character and soul. The pandemic provided the opportunity for The Fratellis to do their first collaboration with vocalist, P.P. Arnold as part of Spotify’s COVID-19 Music Relief Fund. Although the artists never met in person to record the track, the results of the final product is timeless and whole-heartedly captivating.
“Half Drunk Under a Full Moon” is an album that should be played from beginning to end without skipping a track. The music propels the listener through various states of emotions while providing an optimistic outlook that is only complemented by the previous song. Without a doubt, an earworm will be imbedded in your head after listening to “Need A Little Love,” “6 Days in June,” and “Strangers in the Street.”
Jon’s closing statement regarding the direction of the new material, “Be ready and able to accept failure in the eyes and ears of other people.” Although this album will be much different from what The Fratellis have released in the past, fans and new listeners alike will appreciate the dedication that the band members and producers put forth as they head into their destined direction.
Give this album a listen, it has some very special tunes. Catch the band once the world gets back to normal and they start to tour again. They are definitely an “E” ticket ride! That’s a Disney joke, you have to be from the OC to get that I think, I’m sure you get the gist.
Bottom line, if you love great music that will make you smile, The Fratellis are definitely a must see.