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Jon Fratelli | Bright Night Flowers

The Fratellis frontman trades rambunctious rock for country crooning.

This is not the Jon Fratelli you’re thinking of. Except that it is. Confused? So is anyone who buys this disc expecting to hear the rambunctious pop-rock Jon crank out in his day job with his faux bros in Scottish upstarts The Fratellis. Instead, the man born John Lawler changes his tune almost entirely on his second solo album. Most of these nine songs — some of which reportedly date back nearly a decade — are piano ballads. Several have a lazy ’70s country-pop vibe, with the shimmering steel-guitar lines, syrupy strings and twangy baritone vocals to match. Virtually everything has a dark-night-of-the-soul vibe totally at odds with the disc’s title. Don’t get me wrong: None of the above is a bad thing. In fact, tracks like the swooning Evangeline, the ambling Crazy Lovers Song and the smouldering Dreams Don’t Remember You are almost as good as anything you might find on an old Glen Campbell or Jimmy Webb disc. But the massive sonic surprises are the equivalent of picking up an Eddie Van Halen solo disc and discovering that it’s an acoustic folk album. Caveat those emptors, kids.

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