RAT BOY steps it up a notch on INTERNATIONALLY UNKNOWN

Album Review Review
7

ICM Rating

RAT BOY makes a flying start to the year making punk rock and hip-hop on his sophomore album ‘INTERNATIONALLY UNKNOWN’.

The 12-track collection delves into the unknown with the help from the legendary musician and producer Tim Armstrong. The Essex upstart has repeatedly mentioned his admiration of Armstrong in interviews, which ultimately led to the punk veteran joining the team.

Releasing visceral energy of jaw gripping punk rock with hip-hop beats, RAT BOY immediately connected with Armstrong, sharing a lot of similar influences.

Dropping singles like ‘DON’T HESITATE’ and ‘I WANNA SKATE’,  are exactly what to expect from the young musician. RAT BOY has found the perfect blend of anthemic aggro punk with boisterous hip-hop beats, all the while maintaining the personality and attitude that first earned him attention. Meanwhile, the lyrics explore a conflict between outlaws and the police during a post-apocalyptic disorder.

Music video for the single, shot in Los Angeles, depicts the RAT BOY as America’s most anarchic and inept delivery team. Combining playful humour with a vibrant palette and exuberant energy, it recalls some of the famous alternative music videos of the Nineties.

“‘DON’T HESITATE’ was recorded as a live band with Tim Armstrong and John King suggesting things for us to try out, like percussion through a space echo, distorted slide guitar and ukulele bass which is insanely subby. This was tracked live to a tape machine and then back out of the tape machine into Logic.  I was then able to chop it up:  808s and early ‘90s Rebel MC style production.” – RAT BOY

Title track contrasts the manic verses with an anthemic downtempo hook; the aggy street-punk ruck opening single ‘CHIP ON MY SHOULDER’ and the experimental production that underpins ‘NO PEACE NO JUSTICE’, which also features a one-take improvised verse from Armstrong.

Whilst the rest of the album takes a step back from the typical hectic guitar rock of debut album SCUM to something more him. INTERNATIONALLY UNKNOWN has pure chemistry between the two. Their wealth of unorthodox creative ideas gives the album that RAT BOY touch. His energy and enthusiasm have improved the 22-year-old exponentially. His triumph of swagger, invention and fun that proves when its creator is on, he’s really on.

“I wanted to do this completely differently because SCUM took so long, and I was learning the whole way through making it.  I wanted to make something more personal and raw, which reflected me more, to find that sweet spot between hip-hop and punk. Tim really understands that stuff. I’ve never really spoken to anyone else who loves hip-hop and punm like I do.” – RAT BOY

The result is 12 tracks which amplify RAT BOY’s rabble-ousting riot act to a new level. Balancing his raw, high octane indie rock with his passion for punk and hip-hop was tough, but the collaboration with Tim Armstrong has shown just how easy it can be done.

Tracklisting:
  1. CHIP ON MY SHOULDER
  2. MY NAME IS RAT BOY
  3. DON’T HESITATE
  4. I WANNA SKATE
  5. FOLLOW YOUR HEART
  6. INTERNATIONALLY UNKNOWN
  7. SO WHAT
  8. NO PEACE NO JUSTICE ft. Tim Armstrong
  9. FLIES
  10. NIGHT CREATURE ft. Aimee Interrupter
  11. DAD’S CRASHED CAR
  12. SILVERLAKE

Good

  • Great blend of punk and hip-hop
  • Classic high-octane indie rock still powerful as ever
  • Rapping and lyricism has improved

Bad

  • Stylistically less like RAT BOY
  • Pace of album takes a massive drop

Summary

RAT BOY has found the perfect blend of anthemic aggro punk with boisterous hip-hop beats, all the while maintaining the personality and attitude that first earned him attention.
7

ICM Rating

Founder and Editor-in-Cheif of ICM, full-time journalist, occasional photographer, Chelsea FC.