Sunday, August 13, 2017

Album Review :: Rat Boy - Scum


Rat Boy


August 11 2017 (Parlophone)


Words: Alison Mack

Cast any Jamie T comparisons away on this fairly epic - in terms of tracks at least, all 25 of them - Rat Boy long-awaited debut album. Not surprising perhaps this record took its time when the Rat Boy alter ego (or vice versa) of Essex son Jordan Cardy admits just one song, the brightly upbeat 'Turn Round M8' (which features Damon Albarn on keyboards - the same duty he performs on 'Get Over It') took practically a year alone to pull together.

There's a lot to take in on this collection that draws on a hot-potch of energetic styles and rhythmic flavours, encompassing indie, punk, hip hop and ska-pop. From the infectious rallying cry of 'Revolution', recorded in New York with sparky drum machines, but which is about life as a young person growing up in a post-Brexit Essex, and the punk refrain of 'Knock Knock', to the hip hop rhythms of the title track and 'Left For Dead'. Albarn's fellow Blur-ist partner Graham Coxon and Nick Hodgson from Kaiser Chiefs both feature on the 'love song' that is ‘Laidback’, while Mallory Merk’s smooth vocals guest on the tender ‘Sad Sad’.

On the Logic worked 'Sign On', while the comparisons to Mike Skinner/The Streets are inevitably apparent, Cardy's own edgy spark over hip-hop beats and indie guitars, strike his own distinctive chord. Elsewhere, 'Fake ID', an early track from 2014, imagines getting mugged on a Saturday night in his hometown of Chelmsford, while the immediate attention-grabber 'Sportswear', another early penned number, was written on the top of a double-decker bus en route to college.

While this coming-of-age compendium at times feels s little too clunky - and some of the many interludes are unnecessary - 'Scum' is still a street smart guide to youth life, Rat Boy style.

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