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The Ratchets

Glory Bound

(Pirates Press; US: 21 Nov 2006; UK: 31 Oct 2006)

For their sophomore release, the Ratchets continue their no-frills approach to punk-fueled rock ‘n’ roll. Two guitars, bass drums, and the rough, tough vocals of Zed Engine are the meat and potatoes this quartet serve up on Glory Bound. I think it’ll be a little while before their album’s title becomes prophetic, though. The production here is thin, probably under-selling the band’s muscle. Also, despite the protestations of their publicist, who claims that the Ratchets “sure as hell can’t be summed up with a simple CLASH comparison [their emphasis]”, that is exactly who they sound like. I would qualify this only by saying that Glory Bound sounds specifically like the Clash circa 1978 and that, almost needless to say, the group simply aren’t anywhere near as compelling a musical force. Admittedly, this is true of most bands. I mean, the Clash were the CLASH!!! [emphasis and exclamation marks all mine]. Then again, most bands aren’t so thoroughly derivative of “the only band that matters”. The Ratchets even throw in a sprinkling of reggae rhythms, just in case you hadn’t yet slammed into the obvious connection. It’s too bad about the production and the sonic cloning, because the band play hard and play well. “Rockers Taking Over”, “Human Amplifiers”, and “Don’t Wanna Go” are catchy slabs of high-energy, bar band rock. The rest of the material is mostly just adequate to the task. Three good songs and seven that are okay make for an overall fine release. Still, I wish they’d just dress the part and become a Clash tribute band. Give these guys a Casio, and I bet the Ratchets would rock that casbah like it was 1982.

Rating:

Michael Keefe is a freelance music journalist, an independent bookstore publicist, and a singer/guitarist/songwriter in a band. Raised on a record collection of The Beatles, Coltrane, Mozart, and Ravi Shankar, Michael has been a slave to music his whole life. At age 16, he got a drum set and a job at a record store, and he's been playing and peddling music ever since. Today, he lives in Oregon with his wife (also a writer, but not about music), two cats, and a whole lot of instruments and CDs.


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