The Ratchets “First Light”
We love the description in The Ratchet’s bio which references them being hailed by many as being an integral answer to a world without the Clash. If you also throw in the promise of this album being fresh, full of hooks and artful lyrics then you can see why it appealed to us.
From the start it’s easy to see why the band have drawn comparisons to the Clash. Certainly, the raspy vocals on “Gotta Be Cool” have you thinking of Mr Strummer. Then tracks like “Bad Vibes” and “Dotard At The Dial” have that band’s great ability to mix punk rock with melody. That’s all before we get to the wider sound and content of “World Trade Lungs” which is one of the best tracks on the album.
Making comparisons to such a legendary band is a bit harsh though, and let’s be honest, they’re not the first band to draw their influences from them. Indeed, the sound of “Drone Control” and “Fiscal Spliff” will appeal to fans of more recent bands such as The Gaslight Anthem.
All of which makes us think we should ignore the influences and perhaps just concentrate on how good a release this is. There’s no doubting that songs like “Paterson” and “Stray Emotions” are just great rock songs. Full of passion but with a keen sense of the need to build the songs on melodies and catchy riffs. The album ends triumphantly with the insanely catchy “Jammyland”, a song surely built for playing live with a passionate crowd shouting along.
Bands that are capable of delivering great punk n roll are sadly becoming really rare. Every now and then a band will hit the mainstream, such as The Gaslight Anthem. For the most, they remain hidden from the masses but adored by a few (eg D’Generation and King Cannons). It’s therefore up to all of you to try and push The Ratchets into the limelight. So go out, buy this album and play it to everyone you know.