Peer Review by Annabella Twomey (United States)

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Catfish & the Bottlemen

By: Anshu


Apace, raw, halcyon, and powerful, Catfish and the Bottlemen's debut album, "The Balcony" is the perfect album to blast in the car and belt out every word. It's almost impossible not to dance to their music. The album is filled with stellar tunes, all poignant, stunning, and tempestuous. Don't let the peculiar name, or the mistifying album artwork confuse you, "The Balcony" is indubitably enthralling with its melodic, charming songwriting, catchy lyrics, and alluring production.This is the album long-awaited for and it's the kind of album set on repeat over and over again just to appreciate every lyric.

Van Mccann, the brilliant lead singer, dreamt of a life encompassed by music. The group assembled in Llandudno, Wales, where Mccann and bassist, Benji Blakeway grew up playing soccer together, drummer, Bob Hall was a next-door neighbor, and guitarist, Jeff Bond joined from a band Mccann idolized in his region. In a recent interview, Mccann exclaims, "I just love everything about my life and every single person that is close to me. I'm really really in love, and really really in love with the music I'm writing, and I'm really really in love with the people I'm writing it for. Everything else means nothing to me. All I care about is making them happy and making me happy." The band looks up to various other artists, such as "The Strokes" and "Oasis", and admires the two for their memorable sound that makes one happy to be alive.

The album opens with an exhilarating tune titled "Homesick", which ironically makes one feel at home. The pinnacle of the entire album for Mccann himself, as well as a plethora of others, is a massive piece of art titled "Cocoon". The band dreamt of an anthem-like tune to bring an entire crowd together and succeeded with "26", a vivaciously melodic song. The album ends with the apex, "I remember when we swapped names...", leaving the listener eager to repeat the album. The band resonates most when retrieving nostalgic experiences from their past to share with an audience. Whether the album is the soundtrack for unrequited love or merely just the search for youthful energy, the potential of the record is inevitably immense. 

On the roads of Sydney, Mccann was only a toddler when he encountered a peculiar name from an Australian busker. Developing the band came with various name changes, until Mccann decided "Catfish and the Bottlemen" was the perfect one for them. They're brilliantly loud and have the time of their lives translating their compelling stories to each and every listener. The last song of the album, titled "Tyrants", is a song Mccann wrote when he was only fourteen years old. The captivating guitar riffs, persistant drumming, and exquisite vocals from the four members leaves anyone listening, in awe. Catfish and the Bottlemen's "The Balcony" is unforgettable and will undeniably turn into a classic. 



Message to Readers

I would totally love some feedback on the format and flow of my writing. I really hope it encourages you to listen to this stellar album! Thank you!


Peer Review

Yes the writer has captured the sound, especially by comparing them to other bands and using descriptive adjectives to demonstrate the feelings the music creates.


The writer has definitely done a significant amount of research on both the album's music but also the history of the band! I love the backstory about the lead singer's life and effectively shows how his attitude and upbringing lead to the formation of his band.


Yes, they use all sorts of methods to convey the album's mood through writing.


Reviewer Comments

Great job! Your descriptions eloquent and I really like the structure of your review. You didn't just talk about the album, but the story of the band and the lead singer and the quotes fit perfectly with the review.