Label: Topshelf Records
Released: June 9, 2015
Listening to Ratboys’ AOID takes me back to the early 80s Paisley Underground sound of jangle and fuzz (both early Bangles and Long Ryders come to mind). Sure the opener is a short anti-folk ditty, but the album quickly finds its 60s/80s stride. It is simply wonderful to enjoy these hooks amidst the gritty warmth of raw guitars and loosely coupled rhythms. Julia Steiner’s twee-like vocals glide liltingly over the grounded, natural tunes. But even more than the wonderfully engaging music is the sense of hope and love and humanness. There are references to home and family that are specific and personal and yet poetically universal. This is kind of thing Springsteen accomplishes and it is no small feat.
The songs are sweet without being saccharine, kind without being smooth and brilliant without being pretentious. Something about this band just makes me wish I was friends with them. They make me want to drive the 700 miles to Chicago just see them play. They have that likable quality that is more than surface. Whether it is the fuzzed or jangly guitar, undertstated rhythms or sweet vocals, Ratboys find a way to make me want to stay up all night with their tunes, just hanging out.