Rat the Magnificent | The Body As Pleasure | Album reaction

First in a new series of reviews; I play the debut LP from Rat the Magnificent and give you my off the cuff reaction track by track! I’ve only heard one song (Olon) before venturing into this review and I really liked what I heard. So let’s give it a whirl!

Some background info I’ve been given; “The band is made up of members of Family Manderson, Sunshine Republic, KLLR, Hot Sauce Pony, Modern Men and Brenda. The trio’s cacophony of beguiling yet unnerving fuzz-laced experimental noise rock has earned the group a reputation as a must-see live act, having played with the likes of McLusky, IDLES and Adam Betts. Not least, they have also previously recorded with Steve Albini earning the rare would-be plaudits of “I’d have no problem with you being my house band.” Now with an EP and several singles to their name, Rat The Magnificent are set to release their debut LP, ‘The Body As Pleasure’. A collection of 10-tracks that fully encompass the raw, unhinged energy and dark melodic sensibilities that have garnered them much acclaim in the past.”

1) In The Middle. A single note riff with pleasing slow bend opens the album with a brilliant filthy bass tone providing a solid groove. Okay, already I’m really digging this, this is something special! The vocals fit nicely into the mix, cutting their way through the sludge. Halfway through first track and I’m blown away. This is ace. I was lulled into a false sense of simplicity, they take simple motifs on such an exhilarating intense journey. Superb opener leaving me quite excited to hear the rest I’m resisting going back and playing this song again, I must march on. What a start!

2). Marrtalon hits with a Krautrock doom style groove to it, big fat simple bass. Less is more! I think I could listen to that bass tone all day, so good! A minute and a half into it and big drone chords strike in as the track builds in tension and drama. 

3). Up the Street brings a big old blues riff that wouldn’t be out of place on an Oblivians album!. My head is bobbing along to this one, this is great then along comes a killer grunge-esque anti-guitar solo!

4). Where You Been Approaching the halfway point and this album is still throwing up surprises. Here’s a great little scuzzy mid-paced number. 

5). The For is a massive Curveball! A cheeky unexpected synth opens track 5; Taking the album into breather mode. The track builds into a high drama ballad and a huge wall of sound rattles my speaker monitors with shoegaze guitar. There’s a great use of dynamics on this record, the sound pulling and pummeling me in all directions.

6). The Parlour opens the second half of the album. Bringing in a lush jangly sound, leaving me full of anticipation, where is this going?! A lush fuzzy Arpeggio guitar awaits, which is trippy as hell. “When I am king, I’ll hide the corpses at your door” lyrics gives me a distinct Radiohead feel 

7). Olon brings another deep plodding baseline which hooks you into their world. It’s instantly enjoyable yet shows their unique character in the sound and bluesy undertones and Billy Corgan angst.

8). Ilsflat follows on in the same vein as Olon with a slab of spaced out Lift to Experience blues.

9). The vocals take on an almost Kate Bush tone for The Inevitable. They’ve found their groove for this side of the record, less sprawling and diverse but confident and engaging. 

10). Panarron closes the album. A beautiful and unexpected little piano-based lullaby type piece. Giving big Sparklehose and Tom Waits tinkling vibes.

It’s all over much too soon for my liking. An incredibly diverse record, packed with brilliant ideas and songs. The album was recorded over a 3 year period and it really shows. It’s a marvellous piece of work and that effort truly shines through. It’s a record where I am a bit perplexed and slightly overwhelmed, hence I’ve made lost of comparisons. It’s quite difficult to put into words from just one listen. This record demands to be played multiple times and I fully intend to do so!

For a trio their sound is impeccably balanced, they make the most of the sonic space, everything fits just right, with well-defined bass, solid drums and the vocals fit just right, sounding like a more aggressive but melodic Alec Ounsworth.

I NEED to see these live. The album is a treat for the ears from start to finish. In a sea of indie dredge, it’s refreshing to get something original and important.

Excuse me while I go play this one again! It’s quite the album. 10 songs of brilliance and varying styles. There’s sense of creatively and defiantly refusing to be pigeonholed. It’s a whole album of curveballs, just when you think you’d got them sussed they throw another style in. To put it bluntly, it’s bloody magnificent! 

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