RATS, THE: Self-titled: LP

Much light has been shed on The Rats since the Unknown Passage: The Dead Moon Story. For fans of garage and punk music, the footage of The Rats is the highlight of the film. Fred Cole has been outside the music business, playing for many years. While his playing has spanned a Spinal Tap range of styles, his DIY ethic is impressive. The Rats is his most punk rock outing from the early ‘80s. This re-issue of the first album proves their relevance. The Rats’ dry, lo-fi recordings and repetitive, driving drumming is similar in style to The Urinals. The Rats lyrics are perfect trash melodic: simple vocal melodies with a high-pitched yell for backups. Simpler songs like “World War III” and “Teenagers” are perfect, straightforward, angst-ridden art punk songs. The song “Flash Dogs” features a punchy, Farfisa-sounding organ, giving the song a budget-rock 1960s feel. Fred Cole was in a psych pop band in the ‘60s called The Lollypop Shoppe. This sparse brand of ‘60s influence is most prevalent in the vocal melodies. Sloppy, drum-driven ‘80s punk is always appreciated, and The Rats do not disappoint. This album, along with a recent collection of songs by Florida’s The Eat, proves that there are plenty of forgotten punk bands to unearth.

 –guest (Mississippi)