Dutch garage-post-punk from Rats On Rafts. After a successful debut, this second record is even more precision-tooled, tightening up their thrashing, surfy sound for greater mosh-making efficiency. Tape Hiss is released on CD and vinyl, but, despite the title, not on cassette: missing a trick there. On the Fire label.
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Let’s call this one detective surf. Garage rockers Rats on Rafts have that sneaky, echoed guitar sound that’s already won me over to La Luz and Tijuana Panthers year, among others, but with creeping bass lines and whispered processed vocal, this band sound disguised among the riffs. “Sleep Little Child” opens up ‘Tape Hiss’ both very quietly and extremely loudly, eventually bursting forth as a hot-blooded jam: half punk, half psych, with emphasis on detailed production soon blown to smithereens by a big full-band freakout.
Though it often hides behind the scenes, ‘Tape Hiss’ mainly operates at a raucous, ramshackle velocity, with “Powder Monkey” sounding like a reverberating, spooked-up version of Metz: the vocals echo out underneath a rubble of overloud drums and screeching distortion. Cries of “here we are!” linger so much that they blend into the guitar, obscuring the point between vocal and instrumental melody before the song crashes on a pointed cadence -- just in time to usher in the next slice of frenzied guitar chaos in “Rat Poison Face”.
You gotta waltz sometimes, I do decree: for a good few seconds on “Zebradelic”, Rats on Rafts are mouses in their holes, quietly slowing the pace to a stopped heart -- it lasts all of about thirty seconds before the band start marching to a furious beat and an unstoppable bass groove. You can’t stop Rats on Rafts: they’re rogue detectives who don’t play by the rules. Or they just make very fast garage rock that compels on speed alone. Either way: well played.
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- Tape Hiss by Rats On Rafts
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