Singer/songwriter Lucy Ellis, formerly of Aussie punk legends The Spazzys, relocated to London in 2015 and put together The Rats with Johnny Throttle guitarist Joe Tolosa, Animal Cannibal bassist Mike Cannibal and Three Tumbitas drummer Manu. And if the collection of band names mentioned in the previous sentence doesn’t whet your appetite, you should leave the building right now!
Following their 2018 self-titled debut album, Lucy & The Rats return with their sophomore record ‘Got Lucky’. An album that promises 12 tracks of delightful power pop, transporting you back to the golden age of Phil Spector girl groups as much as the sweat and grime of CBGB’S or The Marquee.
The word ‘Punk’ is flung about nonchalantly by reviewers to describe any band that has aggression and 3 chord distorted guitars to their sound. I put my hand up for being guilty for it too, but I wouldn’t use it to describe this London based four piece. As with the likes of RPM faves The Speedways and The Role Models, their sound is rooted firmly in a late 70’s/early 80’s new wave/power pop place, where clean, ringing guitars, sweet vocals and instant hooks reside. You see, there’s a heart-warming familiarity to their sound that stays with you long after the record has stopped spinning.
If you dig the debut, then you’ll love this album too, as its business as usual for this 4 piece. Opener ‘September’ builds on a sweet vocal over jangly guitars, which lead to a lush, harmony-filled chorus elevating the song to another level. 60’s inspired “woah-woah” backing vocals give a high energy, euphoric feel that will have you singing along before the first chorus ends.
Memories of first hearing the likes of Redd Kross and Teenage Fanclub come to mind as much as Blondie and The Go-Go’s for me. This is such a happy-go-lucky record that will brighten up the dreariest of days and do its upmost to cheer up those with a broken heart. The songwriting shines through, and it’s fair to say the fine art of a catchy chorus and clever use of song dynamics is not lost on these guys.
Next up they deliver ‘Real Thing’ which I can excitedly describe as The Shangri-Las doing Ramones. With twangy guitar riffs and cool vocalisin’, it’s a hook-laden sound of the summer, designed to blast from your radio and sing at the top of your voice.
Two tracks in and I’m already sold, I guarantee you will be too. The more punky ‘Pinch Myself’ sees the band ramp up the aggression. Urgent drums, gang vocals and guitars turned up to 11 sees the Rats channel the NY sound of Blondie and Ramones to the max.
Quirky lyrics and heartfelt sentiment takes us into Kirsty MacColl territory on the likes of ‘Time To Time’ and ‘Lucky’ as layered, sweet vocal harmonies and reverb drenched guitars gel perfectly.
‘Get Down’ has that classic 60’s Phil Spector feel. The drum beat, the percussion and the little guitar riff, the way the song builds is perfectly executed. The stops before the verses, the sultry vocal delivery, it all gels to make a perfect pop ditty that would’ve hit the top of the hit parade back in the day pop pickers.
Featuring more potential radio hits than you can shake a stick at, ‘Got Lucky’ is song after song, with not a bad track on offer and it’s highly enjoyable from start to finish. If your heart misses a beat at the mention of The Go-Go’s, or if you get all dreamy and misty-eyed at the sound of Blondie, or maybe you just miss the simplicity of a 3 chord Ramones pop song, then you could do no better than dig into what Lucy & The Rats have to offer. Dirty Water Records do it again delivering a great product from a fantastic band you need in your life right now. Hit the link below and buy the record, you won’t regret it.
Buy ‘Got Lucky’ Here
Author: Ben Hughes