August 9, 2009

Album review: Dead Cats Dead Rats - Dead Cats Dead Rats

The place is dark, poorly lit. A few townies sit hunched over at the bar cradling their pint glasses. On the floor there are a few interlopers bearing flannel shirts and tattered jeans amongst a standing, waiting crowd of friends and random comers. Cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon are nursed inside while outside people smoke cigarettes waiting for the next rockers to go on. This is the scene.

Dead Cats Dead Rats (yeah, you know, like The Doors tune) hail from the North Shore of Massachusetts, and while just a trio, they pack a sick, grungy sound that would indicate they’ve been doing this thing for awhile. How long have they been together? Don’t know; they have just the self-titled release and a quality music video for “Marla” which can be viewed at their web site and YouTube. They have also been esteemed as contestants for the highly-renowned WBCN Rock N’ Roll Rumble.

The band’s sound is a concoction of grunge, punk, and garage rock. Singer/guitarist Matt Reppucci’s delivery and angst is much like that of Kurt Cobain – a little raspy, a little screechy at times. This fits the hasty Misfits-esque riffing of songs that average about two minutes in length. It honestly wouldn’t be the same if the songs were any longer. They need to be quick and in your face to be effective. And there aren’t any solos. It’s just rock, a lot of it really catchy, and there literally isn’t enough time to squeeze in fancy doodling.

What I like most about Dead Cats’ style is that the bass is so prominent. This isn’t to say it’s the focal point, but it’s not muddled out by the guitar and drums like so many bands unfortunately do to the instrument. The bass is not just a foundation here. It’s tasty and heavy in numbers like “Donkey Lips” and “Cross Bones” and there’s tapping or something to begin “Marla.” Both guitar and bass together make for that grungy, dirty tone.

Of all the bands in the Boston area, Dead Cats Dead Rats are one of my favorites. Make them one of your’s.