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Excuse the Fratellis, they're in a hurry

Its technical mastery aside, the band comes off as impersonal and rushed at Troubadour.

March 21, 2007|Kevin Bronson | Times Staff Writer

The Fratellis are a band for the times you think a song and a pint will save your life. From the tenor of the Scottish trio's sold-out show Monday at the Troubadour, though, they're not the kind of lads who'd truly share either with you.

Fresh (or maybe not so) from playing more than half a dozen gigs last week in Austin, Texas, during the South by Southwest Music Conference, the Glaswegians burned through the songs on their debut album, "Costello Music," and then some, all in a little more than an hour.

It was as adroit as you will ever hear pub anthems performed, jaunty enough to inspire all manner of dancing, catchy enough to demand sing- and shout-alongs and brainy enough that you even care about the songs' cast of characters.

So would it hurt to have established a little rapport? Might it give this group a leg up in the Next-Big-Things derby?

Not the Fratellis' style, apparently.

Cherubic, fuzzy-headed singer-guitarist Jon Fratelli -- only bassist Barry's surname is really Fratelli -- mostly looked past his admirers through a set that touched on punk, garage, glam, blues, metal and pop influences. In keeping with the racehorse pace of most of the Fratellis' three-minute bursts of swagger, none of those flavors lingered long enough to leave an aftertaste. Maybe there was a flicker of Libertines one moment, or of Supergrass the next. Or was it all a Blur?

Instead, you left impressed by sheer force, particularly the rhythms delivered by Barry and drummer Mince Fratelli. Anyone who checked out the band based on the iPod commercial featuring their song "Flathead" surely walked away marveling at all things technical. If only the same could be said for the visceral.

The attempt by openers the Pipettes to make sock-hop pop interesting wore thin, no matter how hard the female British trio tried to sashay and shimmy.

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