Latest News

MUSIC REVIEW: Trio triumphs over poison Apple ad

Nothing on television is more tired than those iTunes commercials with the psychedelic colors and the silhouetted dancers flinging themselves around maniacally. Apple's been going to the well on that shtick for what seems like decades now, and for a company that allegedly appeals to the cool kids, the gimmick has all the edge of a butter knife.

With any luck, iTunes' current use of The Fratellis' "Flathead" will be the last commercial of its kind, and Apple will finally come up with a new advertising initiative.

The Fratellis deserve better - and not just for "Flathead," which offers an infectious punch to those able to disassociate it from its mercenary use.

The Scottish trio from Glasgow is a full-throttle party band on all of "Costello Music," bent on a good time and obsessed with complicated women.

Their sound has nothing to do with Elvis Costello, and they aren't really brothers; they merely pulled a Ramones-like stunt and all adopted the surname Fratelli. Yet otherwise, the group is no-nonsense, busting out of the gate with an opening cut, "Henrietta," that finds vocalist/guitarist Jon Fratelli singing about a stalker while his band sounds like it's recreating "Sgt. Pepper" for imbeciles on speed.

The Fratellis have other jacked-up, tattered faux-Beatles moments, like on "Doginabag" and "Baby Fratelli," but in truth the trio could be aping any of scores of high-octane rock bands from over the years.

"Costello Music's" energy is its appeal, as is its never-happens-in-real-life scenarios featuring showdowns between Jon Fratelli and the gal of the moment, who changes from song to song. She could be the star of the rambunctious rumble "Chelsea Dagger," for example, or the source of affection on the disheveled love song "Whistle for the Choir."

It's hard to keep up with the femmes fatales, and the hook-oriented, chanting gang-vocals in the background usually shun names, if not words altogether, to avoid confusion. (The women are apparently as disposable as the music.)

Also, not all the songs stick as they rush by in a mad dash, but "Costello Music" is nevertheless worthy of any extrovert-lover's iPod.

"Costello Music" is released by Interscope.

Rating (five possible): 3-1/2