Now here’s a band to get excited about. A warm ‘welcome back’ goes out to the Rotterdam quartet of Rats on Rafts as they arrive in London, wielding songs from their impressive second album, Tape Hiss.
Released on London label Fire Records last month, the band have spent the past three years honing their impressively bleak sound. How bleak you ask? Picture the bastard love child of Joy Division and The Cramps and you’re close to the Dutch group’s claustrophobic and distortion-drenched groove.
Tunes such as Poison Rat Face and Powder Monkey really put the boot in with their old school aesthetic of pile-driver basslines from Florian Veenhuis and the guitar-swamped vocals of David Fagan as they scorch through the album’s wildly psychedelic rock approach.
The magnificent album was self-produced, recorded and mastered with the aid of purely analogue equipment, which sees them try and capture the explosive outbursts heard in their recent live shows. The band members refer to it simply as ‘sicker and faster’. Nuff said. But it also boasts moments of twisted balladry and confidently opens with the reverb-heavy seven-minute ‘Sleep Little Child’.
The rulebook is well and truly out the window. And following on from their debut album, The Moon Is Big, initially released three years ago via Dutch indie label Subroutine Records – later given a re-release on TopNotch that saw it receive wider critical acclaim – their ferocious and intoxicating live shows have seen The Rats gain a legion of fans including Will Sergeant of Echo & The Bunnymen.
So, we’re excited. You should be too. But to get you in the mood, we sat down with singer and guitarist David Fagan to get the skinny on what he and his bandmates have been listening to on tour as they prepare to rock The Lexington on Thursday (November 5th). And for David, clearly if it’s not Dutch, it ain’t much:
Tonetta – John and Yoko
A friend of mine sent me the video of Drugs Drugs Drugs and I was immediately hooked. John and Yoko stands out for me though, as there’s something special about the ghost of John Lennon.
The Homesick – Boys
The new single from three young lads from Friesland. The singer might be slightly arrogant but they write great songs. Might even be the best live band from Friesland! And try to get your hands on the 7” it includes a fair amount of Friese Kruidenkaas.
Alex Chilton – Hey! Little Child
Hey! Great song. We have a song that’s about the same subject, when I listen to it, I wish we had changed the lyrics to: ‘Hey, little child’. Maybe we can record it someday.
Obnox – Deep From The Dusk
Same friend, different guy. Nice clean fun. If you like this check out Louder Space. It’s mainly louder and spacier. Great album!
Barbaras – Summertime Road
This is what happens when you put the perfect recording and the perfect song together. A pity the band didn’t last long, I must find out if I can still get a new 7” somewhere, mine is starting to sound a bit distorted after playing it so often.