Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Rat Boy – Fake ID

It’s that time again! We get bewildered and occasionally angry about the BBC Sound of 2016!


Madeleine Lee: Did you know Up the Bracket is now a teenager?

Micha Cavaseno: YET AGAIN, we find ourselves subjected to a new Lad with a geetar backing affecting various attempts at the modernizing Lad who with each generation embraces a changing London by affecting his voice in a tone he probably doesn’t use outside of songs and with attempts at slang he’s heard but doesn’t personally deploy. And every time these kids emerge, only Archy Marshall — as dulled as he can leave me — bothered to make the sounds try and reach something beyond this UKIP-level sterility-inducing pub rock.

Alfred Soto: Bored, alone, eye too swollen to think, he needs another drink, Rat Boy’s keeping the oi! tradition alive with the same electric rhythm strums and top line guitar peal. But can the tradition walk out of the pages of the NME?

David Sheffieck: Solidly not bad for the first 32 seconds, a breathless rush of familiar chiming chords and inexplicably decent effects. But it quickly becomes some ungodly mashup of genre and sound, with the most grating vocals this side of Alvin & the Chipmunks, who pop up in the background and unexpectedly prove their shtick is stronger than Rat Boy’s own delivery.

Katherine St Asaph: On Kristin Hersh’s behalf I am underwhelmed.

Anthony Easton: The Taste of Honey for the new proletarian, as brilliant in how it spits its exhaustion and disgust, as the tight, smart lyrics. 

Edward Okulicz: A slice of trashy life that flirts with ska? Oh god, it might as well be the male and somewhat-less-privileged Lily Allen, all polished production edges narrating the rough. Kill this career before it makes it to his equivalent of “Hard Out Here.”

Scott Mildenhall: A decade after Jamie T first released his I-once-saw-a kitchen-sink drama “Sheila,” it’s amazing to see how far things haven’t come. It shouldn’t be too surprising though, because he’s managed to string his disaffected Mockney youth schtick out over three disparate periods since; his youngest fans won’t even remember the beginning, but in the minds of record labels, they’ve always been there. “Fake ID” is quite fun, in a disoriented-but-not-really Lil’ Chris sense, but its key is in the lyric “remember when I got kicked out the classroom at school.” It may just be throwaway window dressing, but to use something so minor to connote disorder assures that everything else in the song — and this isn’t a slight on Rat Boy — reads as limp affectation.

Thomas Inskeep: Stupid name, decent tune, totally British and thrashy/trashy like early Arctic Monkeys.

Patrick St. Michel: Lament generational divides all you want, but I find it comforting that in the end we all tend to go through the same low-level garbage experiences while growing up. Rat Boy is obnoxious on “Fake ID,” all rapped sneers about selfies and being mugged over Libertines-ish scuzz. Yet it seems dumb to ding “Fake ID” for any of this, partially because a cursory listen to Rat Boy’s other songs are way more grating than this. But also because, really, who wasn’t deeply obnoxious before the age of 20? This works because all the dipshit energy of late teendom gets channeled into an energetic pop-punk number catchier than most of the stuff rummaging through the ’90s recycle bin, and one with some silly details that make it work better — how it swirls around like a bad 2 am, and how the assailant sounds like a bug alien. “Fake ID” is obnoxious, but in a way that captures youthful dumbness really well.

Alex Ostroff: Look, I genuinely loved a lot of Panic Prevention, but the best thing about Jamie T was neither the accent, nor the occasional slip into post-Streets not-quite-rap. And it definitely wasn’t “Sheila.” It was the way his bricolage pop constantly teetered on the edge of collapsing in on itself before occasionally blossoming into moments of vulnerability and emotion that were somehow enhanced by his inability to hold the key. Rat Boy has the aesthetic — sampled conversations and a vague sneer — but lacks the heart.

Brad Shoup: It’s like a Rancid song, if Rancid were comprised of a specific kind of jackass. I dig the switch to ska at the end, but it does sound like the band just wanted to do guitar filigrees and not push this shit into the red.

Megan Harrington: I feel deadly certain that winning the BBC Music Sound of 2016 is the absolute worst thing that could happen in Rat Boy’s almost certainly pillowy soft life. Imagine being this little picked scab and finding yourself the poster child for adults who are titillated by your use of the phrase “come here, bitch.” It’s game over, press your suit and send your resume to the bank. 

Iain Mew: It’s 2016; Jamie T can’t still be the future.

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One Response to “Rat Boy – Fake ID”

  1. apparently 2016 is the year i like everything to much