RATBOY – SCUM Review 


If you didn’t know, there’s a lot of scary stuff going on in the world. And in this time of need, the angry and confused youth need a role model to cling to, which is where Jordan Cardy, aka Rat Boy, prevails. Interlacing the angsty tones from the likes of Blur and Jamie T, together with reggae, punk, ska and hip hop, the 21-year-old’s freshman album oozes fantastic confidence.SCUM has an icy bite. It’s a brazen view into Cardy’s experiences, his angry shout paired cleverly with animated backing tracks. Sportswear fizzes with reverberating bass and tinny riffs while depicting the life of a young father and questions his life choices. Boiling Point brings violent imagery and political rage to gospel vocal backing and the crash of drums. Revolution is more rebellion than anything else, discussing the struggle for young people to get their voice heard with an infectiously anthemic chorus. The album is injected with a cheeky humour – like adding the iconic Thames TV ident tune to the start of Left 4 Dead and the even more iconic Nokia ringtone snippet concluding Knock Knock Knock – which both helps the album retain a youthful bounce and give Rat Boy a very unique, defining feature. And it’s within this fun/the-world-is-falling-apart dichotomy where Cardy shines through, to make an album both worryingly relevant but hugely enjoyable.

Rat Boy certainly has a definitive voice, but that doesn’t stop him chopping and changing the instrumental to work around him and create exciting and unpredictable directions. While I’ll Be Waiting merges a slightly gloomy, slightly Beatles-like undertone with the eruption of brass, Move is purely flamboyant hip hop. Laidback is a firm attempt at stripped-back almost-balladry, which is welcome when instrument-heavy tracks, such as Knock Knock Knock and Kicked Outta School, swamp the vocals. These two tracks are the most punk inspired, but are side lined by the titular Scum, which is reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys circa Favourite Worst Nightmare. The opening number Turn Round M8 bubbles with reggae, with a repetitive deep bass and syncopated percussion. The list goes on. The exploration of so many different genres, without any song seeming disconnected, is pretty ingenious.

Still to this day, Jamie T’s Sheila is such a cult song. With the talent and critical acclaim Rat Boy has received with his debut, I have no doubt the youth of tomorrow will hold Revolution – or, frankly, any of the powerful tracks on this album – as close to their hearts.

Rat Boy – SCUM: 7/10

Eleanor Chivers

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