RatTail – RatTail

With a slightly strange name, and some equally strange surprises in their songs, RatTail, the self-proclaimed “oddballs” of Toronto’s indie pop scene, pump out a debut album that’s slightly experimental, yet catchy and playful. Bassist Tim Fagan, drummer Jesse Frank Matthews and singer/guitarist Jasmyn Burke sprinkle this heavily danceable self-titled album with unexpected noises and chants, on top of skillful playing and Burke’s unique and memorable vocals.

The record’s only slow point is the mellow offering “Go Green.” However, Burke’s vocal talent and passion is especially prominent and unforgettable in this song. She sings soft and calm through each verse, and slowly builds up to powerfully wail out the last chorus, sending chills and causing me to just stop and relish in her enchanting fervor.

“Gasmask,” hands-down the strangest song on the album, is haunting yet catchy, and the best example of RatTail’s quirky sound. Burke and her boys start off with a strong toe-tapping rhythm, but quickly, and almost without warning, change pace and move into a sequence of mumbling, chanting, and animal noises, like a musical exorcism taking place over a steady thumping drum and bass beat. Another notable track is “Sicko,” a song whose intro would perfectly underline the beginning of a fight scene in an action movie. The song mixes the badass riffs of old school rock and Burke’s feminine vocals.

Overall, the trio, combine their eccentric musical minds with a no-holds-barred approach to create nine unconventional and peculiar tracks that are full of fun. (Unfamiliar Records/Outside Music, unfamiliarrecords.com) Janet Adamana

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