Release Date: Oct 16, 2015
Record label: Fire Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
Dutch quartet Rats on Rafts abandon any attempt at straight-ahead pop on their highly textural sophomore LP, Tape Hiss. Since making the splash in 2010 with their cover of Dutch new wave group Kiem's mid-'80s hit "The Moneyman," the young Rotterdam-based band have continued to push their lean, post-punk-inspired sound into more experimental territory, first with their sharp 2011 debut The Moon Is Big, and with this second effort. Melodies develop slowly throughout these eight songs and are often totally enveloped in a cacophony of noisy abrasions that transition from one track to the next.
The Upshot: Young Dutch group, firing on all cylinders, tap into a very unique sphere of influences that range from punk to surf to a touch of psychedelia. Combining raw elements of punk mixed with what made early Echo and The Bunnymen great, Rats on Rafts hit hard on their latest album Tape Hiss. The album has a swagger and energy that made me understand right off the bat why Fire Records signed them.
Brevity is a much-admired quality in punk and post-punk circles. A friend of mine with an encyclopedic knowledge of the Dutch underground, and who sings in a band, puts it thus: "Get in, get it done, get out. Two-and-a-half minutes for a song, twenty-five for a set. Why would you need more?" It's a pertinent question; from the Ramones to 'Teenage Kicks', from the Jam to the Buzzcocks, the most influential, snarling anthems recounting frustration and disaffected youth have rarely needed more than 150 seconds to punch you in the gut and frazzle the brain, short, sharp blasts that waste little time in hammering home their point and vacating the stage.