The Fratellis remind me of everything that's good about being Scottish, and other things too: the warm East Lothian summers of my 1970s childhood, and discovering music for the first time. I was slightly too young to fall for the Bay City Rollers, and dumbfounded by the hysteria, but music's seductive whisper was already at my ear. In my old primary school (destined to become a recording studio where Orange Juice would record "Simply Thrilled Honey"), when I was six, I had a conversation in the toilets with a girl called Margaret McNeil, who lived in a house with turrets, whose father was a lawyer, and who owned a pony: so of course I worshipped her and craved her indulgence:
Me (squeaks nervously): What music do you like?
Goddess (confidently): Slik.
Me (blurts): Why?
Goddess (confidently, and with more than touch of condescension): They're not too loud, and not too quiet.
Despite her confidence, infamy came to Margaret too: the pony and the house had to be sold after her father was disbarred for embezzling the clients' fund; but this was my first ever musical recommendation and I took it to heart. Not too loud, not too quiet: I loved Slik from that moment on.
Of course the Fratellis are (in my English teacher's most withering dismissal) derivative: but that's why I like them. They sound so Scottish, for one thing: and this unexpected wave of nostalgia comes over me whenever I hear "I seen you and little Susan and Joanna round the back of ma hotel - oh yeah". I'm thinking about tartan flares, and football scarves on Top of the Pops, and BA Robertson and Bilbo Baggins (a band so obscure there's no Wikipedia reference for them, but for the trainspotters, they were once "managed" by poor old discredited Tam Paton), and the beginning of my passion for music, and my longing to belong, in the flat grey surroundings of the toilets at my first school.