Release Date: Aug 11, 2017
Record label: Parlophone
Whether through his singles, or his band's ever-more-infamous live presence, we've come to know Jordan Cardy as somewhat of a scamp; Essex's answer to Jamie T, a rogue who might be loveable if he'd only sit still for five minutes. And yes, there's much on 'Scum' to support this view of Rat Boy: 'Kicked Outta School', 'Sportswear' and 'Everyday' echo his early singles' tales of suburban hopelessness perfectly. But on this debut, Jordan and pals aren't afraid to contrast bravado with vulnerability, and it's in the unexpected that their debut shines brightest.
W ith his cheeky Essex-lad persona, lyrics about being fired from Wetherspoon's and a vocal style more than slightly reminiscent of Jamie T and the Madchester scene, Jordan Cardy might sound like the sort of pop star dreamt up by execs looking to cash in on millennial, austerity-era ennui. Thankfully, his rebellion is all real, and this bumper debut sees the 21-year-old, whose work was recently sampled by Kendrick Lamar, show his versatility. Sure, there's the self-explanatory Fake ID and Damon Albarn-featuring Turn Round M8 - a mellow, ska-tinged look at getting mixed up with suburban losers ("trackies and North Face, a future court case").
The debut album from England's Rat Boy -- the musical project of one Jordan Cardy -- is a dizzying mix of styles that pays homage to major influences and predecessors like the Streets, Jamie T., and the Clash. Incorporating punk attitude, hip-hop beats, and indie rock energy on sonic tales of the working-class day-to-day in the U.K., Scum is inventive, refreshing, and should also satisfy fans of similarly cheeky lads like Arctic Monkeys and Blur. Indeed, Blur frontman Damon Albarn and guitarist Graham Coxon both make appearances on Scum, lending their talents on a trio of tracks that are just a few of the standouts on an album packed with highlights.
T here's an attractive confidence to this skank-pop-punk debut from the NME's best new artist of 2016. Solid, road-tested hits Move and Sign On jostle for attention with twitchily aggressive new tracks such as I'll Be Waiting and Boiling Point. Over 17 songs and endless clunky interludes, however, Rat Boy's fake prole demotic and shallow social commentary become a bit wearing.
Essex native Ratboy - Jordan Cardy to his family - has been tipped for big things ever since his 2014 five-track Soundcloud release The Mixtape received airplay on several national radio stations and its creator was snapped up by Parlophone. Inclusion in the BBC Sound of 2016 longlist followed before Ratboy was crowned Best New Artist at that year's NME Awards. His ramshackle, boisterous sound, throwing together elements of hip hop, ska, punk and indie rock and laced with social commentary, drew inevitable comparisons to Jamie T and The Streets.
Ten years ago Jamie T released his debut album 'Panic Prevention' to a small cacophony of critical praise and disaffected youth fandom. Fast-forward to Rat Boy's debut album 'SCUM'. Across 25 tracks (and skits), 21-year-old Jordan Cardy from Essex draws on clanky guitars, breaks, dub reggae snares and G-funk basslines to rail against gentrification, Donald Trump and getting robbed by kids in North Face jackets, and sounds a lot like Jamie T while doing so.
The journey of Jordan Cardy AKA Rat Boy hasn't been the most conventional. Going from releasing his first project 'The Mixtape' back in 2014 to being sampled on Kendrick Lamar's 'DAMN.' and now releasing his debut album, Cardy has experienced the kind of cult fanfare many artists spend years developing. In many ways, his come-up isn't dissimilar to Kendrick's; following the hip-hop model of underground hits and mixtapes that precede many mainstream rappers' careers.