Two years on from being enamoured by their EP, Suck A Lemon, Californian outfit Rat Fancy has us hooked again with new album Stay Cool. Like warm honey for ears, the band’s debut full-length potently builds on the pop aspects of that striking earlier release but to the sweetness they bring an even richer tang of discord amidst the sharpest jangles to accentuate the full and unbridled seduction of one magnetic sound.
Formed in late 2016 by vocalist/guitarist Diana Barraza and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Gregory Johnson Rat Fancy has seen their sound hungrily evolve between releases. As mentioned their new album revels in the pop aspect of their creativity yet it does not derail moments of real punk instinct and aggression as well as creating muscular power pop which just gets under the skin. With its line-up completed by bassist Dan Fernandez and drummer Matt Sturgis, Rat Fancy also tease ears with a great nostalgic indie pop breath which especially reminds of the eighties which is maybe no shock as the band has linked up with producer David Newton formally of, and the always well-devoured here, The Mighty Lemon Drops; certainly you could suggest his sure hand has given it a potent voice.
Stay Cool opens up with its title track, the tempting voice of Barraza and a fuzz lined jangle of guitar the first enticing lure. Its infectiousness is only reassured by the subsequent skip of rhythms and the darker grumble of bass as smiling melodies dance; together it all making for one captivating beginning to even richer and bolder moments.
The following Making Trouble brings a thick growl to its Vaselines-esque flirtation, eager energy and a dirt encrusted sheen adding to its instantly gripping character while Never Is Forever simply had ears hooked from its initial invitation of lone bass. The ever manipulative rhythms of Sturgis soon join the inescapable temptation; guitars and voices no slouches in adding to the refreshing enterprise fuelling one irresistible moment within Stay Cool.
Next up RIP Future has a great Weekend meets The Flatmates air to its contagious dissonance inspired rock ‘n’ roll, hooks and melodies in devilish collusion as the track again simply escalates the qualities and excellence of its predecessor, a trend started from the album’s start and only added to by the respective indie pop infection of Must Be Nice and the harmonic beauty of Beyond Belief. Each share a deft but bold tapestry of hooks and melodies around Barraza’s ever beguiling and welcoming tones with the latter aligning its radiance to big boisterous rhythms which alone echo inspirations of that eighties bred era mentioned before.
As Dreaming Is Real and Finely Knitted embrace attention Rat Fancy only add greater temptation the way of ears and appetite. The first of the songs has a warm familiarity to its brief but virulent persuasion, a whiff of The Cranberries adding to its compelling stroll whilst its successor revels in its own individual pop swing. Sugary keys add to and skilfully contrast the effortlessly infectious swing of hearty rhythms, the song pure contagion on body and imagination to steal favourite track honours.
Stuck With You with its gnarly breath and punk ‘n’ pop hunger swiftly makes a close rival for best track, the song a slice of voracious rock ‘n roll enlivened power pop which had the body bouncing as instincts devoured its mercurial gait and unpredictable antics.
Closing with the golden pop croon of Ride Or Die, the song a beguiling sunset to the album’s indie pop heatwave, Stay Cool only left a want for much more of its splendent sounds. It is also a release which only grows bigger and brighter let alone more irresistible by the listen whilst proving Rat Fancy one of indie pop’s essential protagonists.
Stay Cool is available now via HHBTM Records @ https://www.hhbtm.com/product/rat-fancy-stay-cool/ and https://ratfancy.bandcamp.com/album/stay-cool-2
Pete RingMaster 21/06/2019
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