Punk you can dance to: that’s how I’d best describe what Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes produce. You don’t have to be draped in head-to-toe tartan and chains to appreciate it, nor do you have to be some 24/7 rebel or anarchist. Sure, these are tunes for the rockers, but they’re very much for the people, too.
Nuzzled just between their supporting performance at Biffy Clyro’s Glasgow Green show in September and their headline slot at this year’s Live at Leeds Festival, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes have gifted us a diamond of a record. ‘Sticky’ is finally here and I’ve revelled in its glorious offerings to give you the lowdown…
You can’t really review Frank Carter’s mosh-ready material without mentioning his prior stint in Gallows. Nods to his former hardcore days can be somewhat detected in his newer sound, but his current riotous blueprint sits far better with me anyway. What you get from Carter and co in this ensemble is equally as supercharged but much more honed and refined. And, of course, the collaborations aren’t to be sniffed at either — his well-known pals pepper the songs they feature on with drama and a whole new level of class.
Of those, the raucous ‘My Town (feat. Joe Talbot)’ harnesses the best bits of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and IDLES; two explosive, to-hell-with-it bands. Even though this was released as a killer single months ago, it still packs the very same punch while sandwiched between more of the album’s unadulterated bangers.
I’m big on ‘Off with His Head (feat. Cassyette)’ for the injection of piercing, angelic female vocals as well. It’s cleverly done and actually has a sort of party feel to its otherwise abrasive style.
You’ll spy not one but two insane punk tracks with Lynks. ‘Bang Bang’ has a proper Sex Pistols vibe to it, so it’s about as old-school in the modern alt rock era as you can get. Then ‘Go Get a Tattoo’ is the second, pretty yobbish collaboration. As a bonus, its harsh riffs and sliding bass notes also smack of Kid Kapichi or even Leeds newcomers Fudge., which is a cool connection to make. It almost goes without saying that Lynks’ playful, chatty-esque vocals are on point. Talk of smashing TVs, tequila on the rocks, keys to all the locks… Oh, it’s a fist-pumper, alright.
Slick combinations in mind, whether you saw it coming or not, the partnership with Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie on the final track, ‘Original Sin’, is another ripper. It explores the notions of having the devil on your shoulder — more relatable subject matter that Frank Carter brings to the fore in his music.
‘Take It to the Brink’ begins with barking dogs, so it’s certainly fodder for the dissident. And while there’s a clear style to the whole album, the squeaky, untamed saxophones on ‘Rat Race’ supply something instrumentally different. It’s here that even more politically-driven disdain comes through, with anger towards issues like private wealth bubbling to the surface.
You’ll have noticed that there’s no song-to-song chronology to this review. But saving the best until last is a common tactic, so now’s the time to put it out there that my favourite is a toss up between ‘Cupid’s Arrow’ and ‘Cobra Queen’. You just can’t deny the catchiness of these, and you can’t dispute the mighty, moshing magic of them either.
If you only download one track, let it be: THE WHOLE BUNCH.