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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