Three bands that have suffered second album syndrome

Colm Hayes

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Second season syndrome is a common occurrence in football. It happens when a team promoted to the Premier League has an excellent debut season but struggles badly in it’s second term and more often than not gets relegated. The same thing happens in the music industry. Many bands have seen their debut album do unbelievably well only for their second effort to fall flat on it’s face. Here are three bands that suffered badly from second album syndrome:

1. The Fratellis

Costello Music was an absolutely phenomenal debut album from The Fratellis that made it to number two in the UK album charts in 2006. The record was so successful and well regarded that the indie outfit picked up the BRIT award for Best British Breakthrough Act in 2007. The album featured some excellent tracks, from the slow-burning Whistle For The Choir to the upbeat Baby Fratelli. And even if you’ve never heard of The Fratellis, you have heard this song:

Chelsea Dagger isn’t just a song, it’s an anthem. It could also be one of the reasons behind the band’s struggle to successfully introduce new music. I remember seeing the Fratellis at Oxegen in 2008. There was one large, loutish, topless lad who solidly blared out the tune to Chelsea Dagger for the entire gig. This was probably replicated at their gigs across the world. Their second studio album, Here We Stand, was self-produced and much less well received by critics and fans. The band ceased touring in 2009 and only reappeared in 2012. They have made a comeback since, releasing We Need Medicine in 2013, but there’s no doubt that second album syndrome relegated them to the lower tiers of the music world for quite a while.

Fratellis at Brixton 2007
The Fratellis in their heyday performing in at Brixton Academy, 2007 – Credit: Tom Philips

2. The View

Scottish indie rockers The View went one better with their first album – Hats Off To The Buskers reached number one in the UK charts in 2007. ‘Wasted Little DJs‘ was the first single released off the album and was voted Best Track of the Year at the 2007 NME awards. You may not recognise the name of the band but as with The Fratellis, this track will sound familiar:

‘Same Jeans’ is an instantly recognisable tune that went to number three in the UK singles chart and encompasses the success of the band’s first record. Things went downhill quickly for The View after Hats Off To The Buskers. Their following album, Which Bitch?, was poorly received and they swiftly dropped out of the upper echelons of rock and roll in the UK. They have since released another two studio albums, as well as a compilation record, yet their last singles to make in the UK Top 40 singles chart (‘The Don’/‘Skag Trendy’) were both from their debut album.

View frontman Kyle Falconer
View frontman Kyle Falconer – Credit: Dena Flows

3. Klaxons

If you’ve never listened to Myths Of The Near Future, you’re missing out. The debut album from Klaxons is completely unique and gave rise to the new rave genre in the music industry. While not as recognisable as the stand-out tracks from The Fratellis and The View, ‘Golden Skans’ reached number seven in the UK Singles Chart:

The record itself won Best Album at the 2008 NME Awards, with the band already having scooped Best New Band at the 2007 Awards. It took the new rave rockers a further three years to release their second album, barely giving themselves a chance to avoid the dreaded second album syndrome. Surfing The Void came out in 2010 and sold only 30,000 copies, less than 10% of the whopping 350,000 copies of Myths Of The Near Future that were sold.

Klaxons bassist and vocalist Jamie Reynolds
Klaxons bassist and vocalist Jamie Reynolds – Credit: NRK P3

Comment underneath with bands that you think have also been struck by second album syndrome.

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Colm Hayes