Words by Jordan Scott.
Catfish and the Bottlemen have spent the past few years establishing themselves as one of the best up and coming bands not only in Britain, but beyond. They released their debut album ‘The Balcony’ in 2014, and captured the attention the country with their straight forward songs with lyrics about nights out, relationships, smoking and arguing. They were the first band in a long time flying the flag for the working class, keeping their songs simple and relatable, whilst also channelling the same “take over the world” style attitude last embodied by Oasis. After The Balcony shifted quarter of a million copies, the band released their second album ‘The Ride’ in May, and have shot from playing 200 capacity venues when they were unsigned, to selling out arenas. This year’s been a big one for Catfish, and an important chapter in their career.
The band debuted the first single Soundcheck from their highly anticipated second album ‘The Ride’ on Radio 1 back in February, which served as a perfect introduction to the album that left fans ecstatic. Soundcheck sounded enormous, reminiscent in feel to that of Oasis classic Lyla, and was destined to become a live favourite. Van McCann has said he writes songs for the sole purpose of performing them live, and this song has everything required to make a room go mad. This was then followed by the release of the anthemic 7, and acoustic track Glasgow. The Ride was released in its entirety on the 27th of May, and sounded as big as the band promised. Songs such as Oxygen, Postpone and Outside provided some colossal choruses, whilst Heathrow and Glasgow brought the albums calmer, more subdued acoustic moments. The enormity of the album’s sound is down to producer Dave Sardy who has produced for the likes of Oasis to Primal Scream, and he proved to be a catalyst in the bands progression from the last album. The Ride went to number one in the UK and reached number 28 in the US Billboard chart, becoming a massive step in their journey to selling out stadiums.
In February Catfish received their first Brit award for British breakthrough act, beating the likes of Wolf Alice, James Bay and Jess Glynne. Although Catfish aren’t the type of band that care too much for awards, it felt like a win for British guitar music, as the Brit Awards in recent years have been heavily dominated by manufactured pop acts.
Catfish made a name for themselves off the back of their incredible live performances from The Balcony tour, and have already graduated from academies to arenas in the UK. This year’s seen some huge live moments, with several outdoor shows including a massive night at Castlefield Bowl in Manchester in July, and another at Newcastle Times Square in August. Frontman Van McCann has often said the band will play wherever they can, and they certainly did on the festival circuit this summer, headlining a string of smaller festivals as well as drawing huge crowds at T in the Park and Glastonbury. The band sold out an arena tour in the UK in November, which included playing to over 12,000 people in Wembley Arena, a huge step up from when they were playing in the back of pubs just three years ago.
After such a successful year, it begs the question, what’s next for Catfish and the Bottlemen? Van McCann has said the band are striving to release an album a year, and has already claimed that he’s had the first three albums written for a while, so the next album could possibly be on the way at the end of next year. This band have never shied away from wanting to emulate their hero’s, and Van has spoken of wanting to host “massive” gigs in fields like Oasis and The Arctic Monkeys, and with their ever-growing success, some big outdoor shows could be on the cards next year.
Catfish and the Bottlemen are an unapologetically ambitious band, and their current trajectory suggests that they will soon be as big as they’ve always wanted to be. However, don’t expect the band to make any radical changes as they are more than happy with their formula, as Van once said “We aren’t here to reinvent the wheel, we’re here to show you how good it turns”.
Written by Jordan Scott, you can follow Jordan on twitter here.