Anatomy of a hit : 7 by Catfish and the Bottlemen

“Larry called a load of smokes In , I wanna disappear for days,”

Van McCann sings , in front of the band’s first sold out Brixton academy show. This was the first time I heard 7 and despite no one in the crowd knowing it , it stuck on my mind for days.

A Driving bass line, pounding rhythm section, and razor sharp guitars fuel this song as the impossibly charismatic Van McCann rasps his way through some of the best lyrics written in recent years. On Songwriting alone, I felt it may be the best thing we’ve heard from catfish, and watching the countless live videos on YouTube ceaselessly drove the hooks deep into my head.

Hearing the studio version on the excellent Annie Mac’s evening show, What really struck me was the mood of the song. Van isn’t the pining and frustrated young man we hear on Business on Kathleen , you can hear from the lyrics and his delivery of them that this is the  rock star Van we can we hear on lead single soundcheck. But there’s still very much a bleeding heart to this song : “I love you , but i need another second to myself” spits van , he’s still the lovelorn boy we know , but more self aware now almost. He’s definitely  someone who is certainly going to be one of the most captivating personalities in music in the next few years.

It’s the biggest production the band have done , the signature David Sardy guitar sound is still there , with Bondy’s guitars cracklings through the mix above layered guitars. This is the only niggle with this song, despite it being well produced on the whole with the drum sound on god mode , the acoustics on vans voice being left at a great level and the cacophonous wall of sound making that last chorus stadium bashing, but all of this takes away a little from the red raw simplicity of the live version that grabbed my attention, maybe compromising a little on emotional impact. But on the split side , this production in terms of scale was always going to happen, if they’d stuck with the stripped back post-punk of the balcony, they would’ve been stagnating, and frankly have Catfish ever been ones to stand still ?

It’s impossible to see this as significant though, this song is the sound of a normal lad wrestling with the fact he’s now teetering on being a bonafide rock star, to be said in the same sentence as some of the biggest in the long tradition of British frontmen. And personally, I find it utterly compelling. Good one lids.


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