The Beat Rats—A Cellar Full of Rats
New York: birthplace of the Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Sonic Youth, The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and home to all things cool and trendy since the late 60’s. The Beat Rats are the latest sons of the big apple to pick the torch for rock’n’roll and run with it. These boys aren’t, however, running down the more obvious paths the city is known for (I.E. Punk, Hardcore and Noise Rock). They are reaching back to the halcyon days of The Beatles, Mod Pop and Garage Rock. If these guys were bigger anglophiles they’d be living in a flat in Shoreditch.
‘The Beat Rats Theme’ is a statement of intent, all surf guitar, hip shaking rhythm and petulant, catchy vocals, and it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. Each track on the album is a short, sharp blast of classy retro rock. not that they repeat themselves. I Can’t wait has a slower, more bar room blues feel that could either be about a woman or a drug dealer. ‘Rat Fink” hints at the Banana Splits as much as any real band. While also bringing to mind Link Wray and the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction. the production on the album is pretty basic, but it fits the overall mood of the record, making it sound as if the band recorded on an 8-track with analog equipment, in a Greenwich Village loft. For all I know they did.
I’m guessing the real way to experience the Beat rats is live, with the sweat pouring out of the walls and everybody in the room shaking ass and taking names. Maybe not your new favorite band, but one that’s well worth a listen.
—Daniel Cadwallader, Bubblegum Slut Fanzine
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