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CD: Rat Boy - SCUM | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Rat Boy - SCUM

CD: Rat Boy - SCUM

Occasionally invigorating, often irritating debut from cheerfully loud-mouthed geezer and band

Rat Boy and his dangerous-looking gang, his Burberry moped and his dog

At the start of 2016 shouty Essex bedroom musician Jordan Cardy – AKA Rat Boy – was on all those media tastemaker lists of stars about to imminently explode. Maybe he’s been in major label development hell since. His debut album’s been a long time coming and, commercially, it will possibly need that lost initial momentum. But that’s for the streaming public to decide. In the meantime, SCUM is a bouncy, youthful, over-excited Labrador of a thing, distortion-amped, loud, flicking the Vs, and generally bringing the kind of party where crockery gets smashed.

The obvious comparison is Jamie T’s geezer-ish social commentary pop-rock, but Rat Boy’s musical mash-up owes less to late-Seventies artists such as The Clash or Ian Dury. Instead, names that spring to mind include Rizzle Kicks, late Nineties Fatboy Slim and the Ritalin pop mania of the late Lil’ Chris, but with buzz-saw guitars, iffy hip hop MCing, and the everything-turned-up-to-11 production style of The Go! Team in their early ‘00s prime. It deliberately crashes at the ears, in other words, with goofy Americanised skits hamming up the irritant factor, even when poking obvious fun at Donald Trump.

Many songs offer basic, pissed-off commentary on how crappy the lot of the working man can be, but aggravating nursery rhyme tunes, such as on “Everyday”, reduce the appeal. Happily, there are also tasty cuts, notably the sneering punk of “Knock Knock”, and the fired-up skank of the title track and “Left For Dead”. The latter’s portrayal of loan shark hell boasts welcome lyrical bite (“What happens when you don’t pay your fees?/You get the shit kicked out of you by common thieves”).

There’s not much light and shade on SCUM but this album isn’t about that. Like Slaves, it’s noisy, energised, mosh-pit fuel for teenagers and early 20-somethings, with occasional bursts of musical promise. On that basis it’s a partial success.

Overleaf: watch the video for "Revolution" by Rat Boy

It's a bouncy, youthful, over-excited Labrador of a thing


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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