Picture the scene; it's Christmas Day and your granny has just hobbled through the door. She's got a rustling bag that's full of presents, and you know from the twinkle in her eye there's one in there for you. All year you've been hassling her for this, making sure that it's hardwired into her brain, she's a bit dotty these days, but she tries, bless her.
"Now you've been asking me for this all year, and the man in the shop assured me that this is the right one for you" she says with a genial smile as she hands it over to you. She remembered! She's gotten you Jamie T!
Excitedly pulling back the paper, your glee turns to despair as you realise what was hiding underneath that festive wrap. It's RAT BOY, the knock-off version of Jamie T. Tears begin to breach the dam, but you know you must stay strong. Your voice quivers as you thank her and give her a hug, but deep down, you can't face the fact that you didn't get what you wanted. That's life, though.
Despite being around for what seems an eternity, SCUM. is the first full-length release from indie cult figure, NME award winner and Kendrick-sampled RAT BOY, the alter ego of Jordan Cardy. With interludes, skits and tracks, the 'Deluxe' version of this album weighs in at 25 songs and 58 minutes, and by the second half, you're tired, angry and confused. Why the fuck are you listening to RAT BOY? Where are you?
This album seems very grey. You've really got to focus and pay attention when listening to this album, not because it's a deep, powerful album, filled with spiritual meaning, it's because if you lose focus, you'll not hear anything. Songs like LAIDBACK and BOILING POINT keep you somewhat focused, with the numerous radio-style waking you from your aural coma and bringing you back to reality and… Wait a minute, is RAT BOY the band, fronted by Jordan, or is RAT BOY Jordan, and he's just got a touring ensemble?
Instead of churning out tonnes of tracks plus skits, they should've spent more time polishing and perfecting the stronger tracks on the album, quantity seldom equals quality, and in the case of SCUM, this is no different. It leaves you feeling weary and a bit bored. Sure, this is a band/person/collective/ensemble that doesn't take themselves too seriously, but they should have put more time into in the quality and the sound of the album, instead of writing a track and thinking "Eeeeh, that'll do, right?".
Many have touted this young man and his collective of cheeky chaps as Essex's answer to Jamie T, but what was the question? Can we have Jamie T, but not as good?
As seen on your latest Kendrick Lamar album, KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK, is a fast paced and jaunty number, and is another glimmer of light in an otherwise unenjoyable album. It's not that this is necessarily a bad album, and it's not that RAT BOY is a bad band, as their immense popularity as cult figures will tell you otherwise, it's just that this isn't a very enjoyable album. It's a bit boring. The cutting social commentary just becomes the Shipping Forecast after a while, and it feels a bit samey, as if two tracks could have their names swapped and your average listener wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
It's not all bad news in the second half, though! The indie vibes of SIGN ON are alright-ish, and the riff on SCUM is pretty cool. But otherwise it feels a bit half cooked, all the tracks feel like they've still got scaffolding around them, waiting to be finished. A lick of paint here, a few tracks on the cutting room floor there and you could have had a more enjoyable, quicker to run through record here, but the weight of this album, skits 'n' all, makes you feel like you're trying to swim in treacle. It's alright at first, but after a while, your arms get tired, and you slowly decsend into the syrupy nothingness, your lungs filling with treacle as you slowly fade away.
All in all, this is a pretty average album with a few notable points, otherwise it's just a pretty boring album, where it could have been so much more interesting.