A Funny Thing Happened On My Way Past The Roundhouse…
…It was Monday night, 72 hours since I’d been to the show at the Roundhouse reviewed below, and I found myself passing that beautifully renovated Chalk Farm venue en route to the far less salubrious Barfly. Suddenly a song came into my head – the kind of ridiculously catchy song that shouldn’t normally leave it in the first place. I tried to think where I’d heard it – in a venue, I recalled, with lots of people dancing to it, like they were already familiar with it. It was a rock band, definitely, and a British one, probably. Then it came to me: it was The Fratellis, at the Roundhouse on Friday night. A song that I had not knowingly taken home with me had nonetheless embedded itself in my sub-conscious, triggered to re-emerge when my brain was alerted to the location of the song’s introduction.
It’s a fascinating insight into how our short-term memory stores data and how it’s provoked to find it. And it’s also a great song. I’m talking, of course, about ‘Chelsea Dagger,’ The Fratellis’ new single – which I heard again in the HMV store on Oxford Street just yesterday, on its way to becoming a major UK hit. The hook that embedded itself in my psyche is a dumb-but-fun nonsense melodic refrain – “da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da-da-da-da” then repeated perhaps a fifth lower, the lyrics that follow being something about a girl. It’s straight out of the Supergrass/Blur/mod school of singalong British music hall rock, and it’s as impossible to dislike on initial impact as it is to ignore.
I picked up the single yesterday as an apology for forgetting it in the first place, though listening to their debut album Costello Music at a listening station, I was not convinced that any of their songs have enormous depth. The Word magazine certainly doesn’t think so: a review in the new issue labels them “fourth rate Britpop.” But then a radio plugger I met yesterday called The Fratellis one of the best live bands in Britain and among the greatest of young songwriters. In the meantime, ‘Chelsea Dagger’ has, according to iJamming! Pubber po1ntman, already been adopted by a certain West London football club as their obvious new pre-match anthem. I imagine people being quite sick of ‘Chelsea Dagger’ come Christmas, but for the next few weeks, this is Fratellis time.