Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes take the punk influences of ‘Blossom‘ and the shouty rock of ‘End of Suffering‘ to create a unique and distinguished sound, cementing ‘Sticky‘ as one of the best punk rock albums of the last few years. Alex Tearle Reviews…
‘Sticky’ has been meticulously poured over, with fantastic bass riffs behind punchy lyrics on every track, presenting an album that sounds like the band is shouting directly into your headphones. The songs discuss difficult topics with relative success, for example My Town (feat. Joe Talbot) deals with mental health in dialogue with a description of a town that is all too familiar to British listeners. The band discusses hard hitting topics in a way that mirrors IDLES with good results, creating a selection of memorable hits that are difficult not to shout along with.
Masculinity is thematically threaded throughout the album – Sticky asks, “Why oh why, can I not cry / Even though I want to?” which highlights the difficulties of loneliness during lockdown, another theme in the album. It’s these themes that make the album punk, reinforced by the passionate lyrics and distorted guitars.
It’s true that this album is not perfect though. Some songs feel as if their political elements are somewhat shoehorned in, exemplified particularly in the spoken word section of Bang Bang (feat. Lynks). The anti-drug sentiment, though an important issue, is so front and centre it is impossible to miss. Bang Bang feels almost tacky when compared to Take It To The Brink, a song that discusses similar topics in a far more emotional style, with the lyrics sounding almost as if they are begging the listener not to “ignore all the wake up calls”. However, this song is also slightly disappointing, with a particularly irritating barking sample which fails to create the run down and grimy aesthetic that other songs on the album masterfully achieve.
The singles are all fantastic tracks, undoubtedly the four stand outs of the album
Sometimes the simpler songs on the album sound the best. The titular Sticky has a very simple drum beat with an arguably limited chord progression, but Carter’s rhythmic yelling transforms the track to be one of the best on the album, opening with an explosion of sound and setting any listener up for the mayhem to follow. The accusatory “YOU!” in My Town is also a particular ear grabber, jolting any listener back into the flow of the song and creating a track that I’m sure will be incredible live. The singles are all fantastic tracks, undoubtedly the four stand outs of the album. The features are particularly effective, with Casyette adding a fantastic and shouty set of backing vocals to create excellent layering in Off With His Head and Lynks transforms the sound of the band, making Sticky a departure from some of the previous records to present a new and dynamic sound.
Rat Race is also particularly interesting, with backing trumpets that sound like they could be from a Black Country, New Road song, which is a fantastic twist on the band’s usual style, utilized to great effect. Rat Race also features an excellent guitar solo, highlighting the talents of the band and ensuring the album doesn’t become boring as it continues. The final track Original Sin (feat. Bobby Gillespie) is also a great roundup to the album, sounding almost orchestral with sweeping backing keys that create a fantastic send off.
Though there are some misses on this album, it is hard not to enjoy Frank Carter’s latest foray into punk, and you should absolutely listen to this album if you enjoyed any of the band’s prior work or other punk rock bands of the last decade.
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