Ratboys – GN

Topshelf Records have put out some great records, by some great bands such as Braid, Enemies and toe. So listening to this record, having previously not known the band, I am instantly drawn into the rosters family. There’s a clear identity to the label and this fits nicely into the mould.

ratboys.jpg

The soft, delicate vocals from Julia Steiner are instant and familiar, evoking the deft vocals in Broken Social Scene and bands such as Big Deal, yet musically feeling very 90s like early Dandy Warhols. In the UK, we were awash with indie-shoegaze bands who sounded a lot like this, that I would root about at the back of a Melody maker to find out about.

5th track, “Crying About The Planets” starts as a soft PJ Harvey ballad, before owing a huge debt to Kevin Shields / MBV, with it’s twisted feedback and giant wall of guitars.

Lead track “Control” is an instant, jangly, radio friendly hit with the easy to follow sing-y-bit, louder guitar, sing-y-bit, loud guitar format, before a middle eight of “oooha arrr whoooo ooohhh arrr”. It reads like I’m mocking it, but I’m really not. This is the perfect hot, sunny road trip music. Hood down, open road, pretty young people having fun.

The whole album continues in the same vein. Each song an extension of another, very sure of itself and knowing of the sound it’s achieving. The addition of trumpet would be a stroke of genius, could I actually hear it in the mix, but I can’t. That said, I don’t fault it in any way. It’s there, or they wouldn’t list it, and yet it’s not obvious. Discreetly doing it’s job subtly for the listener.

There are some lovely pedal steel guitar bits hidden in the mix, evokes to me British singer-songwriter Ben Marwood, like on title track GM, where some light electronics are also thrown in for good measure.

Overall this record sounds great, feels warm, old and comforting, of summers gone by and summers yet to come. Are they touring the UK?

– Kieran Moore (@Sheer_Music)

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