Undeterred by the fact that the Fratellis' trademark ramshackle indie sound is now about as popular as root canal surgery, frontman Jon picks up where his missing-in-action trio left off with his solo debut record, Psycho Jukebox, which reunites him with Costello Music producer Tony Hoffer (Beck). The album's 12 tracks may have retained several of the musicians from his recent side project Codeine Velvet Club, but their burlesque-inspired vibe is nowhere to be heard on this unashamedly back-to-basics affair, which acts as though the last 40 years of pop music hadn't existed. Indeed, with Fratellis drummer Mince joining him on tour for the record, it doesn't seem particularly obvious why the Glaswegian has decided to go it alone at all, as the raucous "la la la" chorus of "She's My Shaker" and the old-fashioned rock & roll of opener "Tell Me Honey" are the kind of laddish singalong anthems that saw the Fratellis find their way onto the Shrek soundtrack and U.S. sports stadium sound systems, while the band's retro leanings are very much in evidence on the jangly Byrds-esque "Rhythm Doesn't Make You a Dancer," the early Springsteen-influenced Americana of "Daddy Won't Pay Your Bill," and the psychedelic pop of "Magic & Mayhem," all of which feature his throaty heavily Scottish-accented tones in full flow. It's a disappointingly regressive state of affairs, as when Fratelli does attempt to change the record, as on the Wall of Sound-esque Brill Building pop of "Oh Shangri La" and the country-tinged "Give Me My Heart Back McGuire," he shows glimpses that he could quite easily leave the brash and obnoxious swagger behind should he choose to do so. Psycho Jukebox's title suggests a melting pot of dangerous and eclectic sounds, but in reality it's a fairly one-note retread of former glories that is highly unlikely to revive the flagging landfill indie genre.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien