Ratboys – GN
Dream Pop | Americana
Sometimes you stumble across something new that seems so natural and intuitive, you’re left wondering why no one has done it before. Enter Chicago’s own Ratboys, who have created a sound somewhere on the otherwise unexplored spectrum between The Pixies and Emmylou Harris. Their Americana infused take on the hazy dream pop sound tick two very exciting, yet very different boxes. The War On Drugs are the only other act I know which treads a similar path, yet let it be said this is an entirely different animal. Its full of character and personality, albeit exploring a darker and more introspective approach. Album highlight ‘Control’ adds a dash of upbeat southern rock to provide a great change of pace to an otherwise lonesome record. The superbly titled ‘Elvis is in the Freezer’ matches some gorgeous melodies with some splashes of slide guitar, while ‘GM’ takes a more stripped back folk approach.
Lyrically the record dwells on tales of loneliness; of leaving home, missing what you left behind, and returning to discover you never really knew where to call home all along. ‘Crying About The Planets’ and ‘Peter The Wild Boy’ tell true tales of bizarre and lonely journeys lifted from the vast abyss of Wikipedia. Julia Steiner’s airy vocals prove to be both the albums greatest asset and greatest fault. While they help create an affecting and engaging atmosphere, they can sadly leave the lyrics a little difficult to decipher at times. The parts you do grasp however point to adept songwriters who seem to have hit upon a winning formula. It’s a slow-burning record, but given the attention it deserves it is a rewarding listen that is sure to keep you coming back.