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Album Review // RAT BOY ‘SCUM’

More ballsy and bombastic than ever, Rat Boy’s long and eagerly awaited debut is finally here.

The live sensation is put to the ultimate test through their first full-length record, trying to live up to their monumental hype. The pressure is clearly on for Rat Boy.

The opening track WELCOME TO MY WORLD is indeed a welcome introduction into the obscure wicked world of Rat Boy. Bringing on the big names from the start, Damon Albarn makes an appearance already through the chorus of the first full song, TURN ROUND M8. Not that Rat Boy seem to need the star power to gear up the track. Well known for possessing outrageous amounts of energy, the Essex gang certainly have tamed their frivolous side, managing to centre their energy in a surprisingly giving way.

Hits such as REVOLUTION, FAKE ID and SPORTSWEAR scatter the immense set list. SCUM contains a bold amount of music for a debut. With interludes mixed in with the extensive tracklist, the album stretches over a total of 25 tunes.

Listening to Jordan Cardy’s lyrics, it comes clear why Rat Boy have hit so hard so fast. These aren’t just well-versed tunes, it’s lyrics dripping with every aspect of adolescents as well as scenarios so close and so far out that it can seem just as dystopian as it’s completely relatable. Though intelligent, it’s not always easy to grasp a single sentence through the wall of noise that seems to be Rat Boy’s go-to defence.

Daring to slow it down is a hard one for bands most commonly know for rowdy tunes and restless beats. However, LAIDBACK (featuring none other than Blur’s Graham Coxon on guitar) and I’LL BE WAITING are commendable efforts into a more emotive and slow territory.

Since they surfaced in 2015 Rat Boy have stayed straight with their agenda. The bold honesty leaves no shying away from opinions and the rattier side of millennial life. Their most rowdy live tunes have taken a more refined turn, SIGN ON and MOVE seems to have a more distinct grove to be found in Harry Todd’s guitar-work. The infectious nature of the melodies is captured at it’s most vibrant. The distinct hooks are still well preserved, yet it’s clear that Rat Boy ain’t just trashing around anymore.

With SCUM, Rat Boy really take the stand as the voice of their generation. However, it’s a palpable urge to aim bigger on the record. Each track phantoms a certain will to grow larger, more ballsy and it’s this relentless sense of aspirations more than anything that seems to be the drive in Rat Boy.

They might have stepped it up a notch or two, but Rat Boy will still be our favourite scumbags anyway.