wed 02/12/2020

Album: The Boomtown Rats - Citizens of Boomtown | reviews, news & interviews

Album: The Boomtown Rats - Citizens of Boomtown

Album: The Boomtown Rats - Citizens of Boomtown

Bob Geldof's gang reconvene for a wildly unlikely and mostly enjoyable ride

The Rats head into the future

The new Boomtown Rats album – their first for 36 years! – is both preposterous and rather wonderful. This is as it should be. The Irish band surfed the so-called “New Wave” after punk rock to brief chart-topping stardom.

The new Boomtown Rats album – their first for 36 years! – is both preposterous and rather wonderful. This is as it should be. The Irish band surfed the so-called “New Wave” after punk rock to brief chart-topping stardom. They had some cracking songs (“Rat Trap” is a gem), but were reviled by the era’s Year Zero arbiters of taste. This was because they were clearly a Stones-ish R&B unit who’d jumped the bandwagon, the outrageous mugging of frontman Bob Geldof sealing the deal. That, however, is all ancient history and they return with a set that’s as goofy as it is contagious, clearly having a ball.

The original Boomtown Rats fizzled out in the early/mid-Eighties, amid Geldof’s involvement in Band Aid/Live Aid. They never seemed sure, during that fizzle, whether they wanted to be pop, rock or something else completely. Such an attitude suits 2020 and Citizens of Boomtown is, with two hideous exceptions, a consequent blast. Take “She Said No”, a dirty garage blues of unreconstructed sexual politics that comes on somewhere between Nick Cave’s Grinderman project and old US Sixties trash-bands such as The Shadows of Knight.

The most noticeable seasoning here, however, is flavours of the Bowie-Iggy Pop-Lou Reed Seventies triumvirate; from the self-explanatory stomp of “Trash Glam, Baby”, to the Transformer-meets-The Beatles “Passing Through” and “Here’s A Postcard”, to “Sweet Thing”, which sounds like an Iggy Pop cut from 1980. Unfortunately, there are a couple of horrors aboard – the disgraceful “KISS”, which sounds like a Toploader pub singalong, and “Rock ‘N Roll Yé Yé”, whose title tells you all you need to know.

Happily the album ends in dementedly enjoyable territory, with two unlikely punk-electro-disco bangers, “Get a Grip” and the terrace chant shouty “The Boomtown Rats”. Imagine The Rolling Stones crossed with the KLF at their most energised and you’re halfway there. Both tracks are bonkers yet likeable, sounding nothing like anyone would expect The Boomtown Rats to sound. The same could be said for much of this ebullient album. An unexpected pleasure.

Below: watch the video for "Trash Glam, Baby" by The Boomtown Rats

The album ends in dementedly enjoyable territory, with two unlikely punk-electro-disco bangers

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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