Album cover

Rats! Sing! Sing!

1) Rats
2) Lie with the Lamb
3) Burn It Down
4) So Good
5) Love Is...
6) The Big Girl of Beauty
7) Shake It Off
8) Dub II
9) Taxi Up
10) Tin Pie
11) Heart on a Chain
12) Shattered
13) Come to My House
14) Turn Out the Lights
15) Double Bummer

A lot of the songs on Rats! Sing! Sing! are throwaways. They're not worth the time to listen to. You couldn't play them at a party or on your headphones while you're exercising. They're mostly novelty piano and vocals with irritating effects that, when cobbled together, don't do much for the listener except display how the band is very indie and intellectual and rebellious against mainstream music.

If these noises and techniques were integrated into the songs and the album had 10 tracks instead of 15, then you'd have the Pixies, Mudhoney, or Some Velvet Sidewalk -- an authentic, hip sound that can get up and kick some ass. As it stands, there are rocking tracks ("Come to My House," "Shake It Off," and "So Good") jumbled together with "songs" that mercifully clock in at under a minute each ("Tin Pie," "Love Is...").

The good songs are good. This is rock. This isn't girthy stadium rock or punk or grunge, but a thinner, refined sound. It's art rock, but not the traditional prog crap. It's art rock in a modern setting: the vocals sound distant, and piano and tumbling bass lines are featured prominently. It's the disaffected sound of the modern shaggy-haired, tight-jean hipster. It's the Shins and Jet with a grittier college-radio vibe. It's grunge without the discontent...and they definitely succeed in separating themselves from radio pop.

--- Hometown CD Review 4-13-06


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