On the last Rats On Rafts album, 2015's Tape Hiss, the Dutch band worked up a furious racket of post-punk that was somewhat accessible. Now, in 2016, the group has linked up with De Kift to offer something much more abrasive. Rats On Rafts/De Kift will be out on Friday via Fire Records who are to be commended for bringing music this bold to mainstream audiences.
There are moments here where things seem just on this side of the more familiar strains of new wave (the stomping "Last Day On De Zon" or the surging "Brass Poison Face") but far more that really push the envelope a bit. Despite a few faint steel drums on the epic "Melk en Benzine", the cut is hardly a party anthem. Things rev up ominously and the assorted players here impressively create a powerful churn that recalls nothing so much as Einsturzende Neubauten. Elsewhere, there's a sort of Beefheart-like jazz clamor going on during "Moonlight Flit", while the fine and wonderfully-titled "Powder Monkey" recalls Die Haut and similar Nick Cave-associated acts from a braver decade in the past. Despite some softer moments, like on the nearly-gentle "Swan Song" this release is a difficult, though challenging, listen.
[Photo: Erik Christenhusz]