The Fratellis, Electric Ballroom, London<!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Racing minibikes may be all the rage, but this Glasgow threesome are more fun and just as noisy. With ELO topping a poll of tunes termed "guilty pleasures", now is a fine time to go glam. Indeed, frontman Jon Fratelli is shameless that his gang steal from only the best and tonight shows their strategy works - up to a point.

It is too early to compare them with great trios from the past, but these veteran troopers progressed only after they dropped a member. The Fratellis soon found favour with Island Records, who release their debut album later this year.

Much of their charisma rests on the shoulders of the fuzzy-haired Jon. Between songs, he is all woozy charm as he forgets to speak into the microphone. Even more of what the band say is lost in thick Scottish accents, which hardly matters. It disguises their ambition, finally revealed when Jon thanks the crowd for being "Fratellis fans" as if no other group matters.

Tonight, though, it seems that way as much of the audience know the words. Jon's sandpaper vocal style is that of a less irritating Kelly Jones, which suits the group's tales of drunken fumbles and fumbling stoners. The new single "Chelsea Dagger" is one of several odes to bizarre characters that come alive with an odd mix of early Supergrass's hyperactivity and a hint of terrace violence. The "I said... she said" verses suggest good-natured flirtation, though the key to its success is the "Der-der der, der-der der" chorus that could become 2006's "Woo Hoo".

Helping such moments along is drummer Mince, rattling off Skids-style tattoos and John Bonham solos. On bass, Barry can barely keep up, although he provides the bouncy line on "Vince The Loveable Stoner" that is T-Rex's "Jeepster" by another name.

The set's relentless nature overpowers any degree of subtlety. There is also a penchant for formless jams only just kept in check by the band's desperate desire to entertain. Only two changes of intensity survive the onslaught intact, best being the minor key "Whistle For The Choir", when Jon shows he can write a chorus you can sing.

For the encore, the singer emerges alone to strum a charming ditty about an affair with a married woman. With his gap-toothed charm, none of the many women in the audience seem to mind. A bright future, then, is assured.

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