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'The Balcony' review: Catfish and the Bottlemen make the aughts new again

"The Balcony" is the first studio album by Welsh indie rock band Catfish and the Bottlemen. It was released on Sept. 12, 2014 in the United Kingdom and in January 2015 in the United States. Photo Credit: Island Records

The reign of the "The" bands (Strokes, Vines, Hives, etc.) seems like forever ago, arriving en masse as a guitar-driven distraction from post-9/11 trauma. Perhaps these troubled times are right for a similarly roaring rock escape. The Welsh band Catfish & The Bottlemen's debut, "The Balcony" (Communion), recalls that sound, with a bit of the Arctic Monkeys thrown in thanks to producer Jim Abbiss. The single "Kathleen" and the standout "26" ride Strokes-ish pointed guitars, a bit of new wave danciness and pop sweetness to create a potent package. However, it's singer Van McCann's vulnerability, especially in "Homesick," that may be their secret weapon.

THE GRADE B+

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