RatTail Self - Titled Album
Take Aim Media
By Anthony Marcusa
One year in the works, RatTail, a Toronto trio that seems to have created the most apt name for their gritty, honest, and at times endearing sound, will release their debut album on January 31.
“We’re pretty excited about it,” explained lead singer and brain child Jasmyn Burke. “We really don’t want to overanalyze. We recorded it in a comfortable space, we felt it out, and did it in three or four takes.
” The feeling-out process is very clear from the start of the record. The songs are well constructed but have a rawness and spontaneity to them that is easily lost by over-thought and over-production. The songs are not perfectly composed, and Jasmyn’s voice isn’t always pitch-perfect, but that is how it is meant to be and therein lies its entertainment.
RatTail is catchy, and within their spunky lyrics and unrefined sound is pure charm. The first track, “Soon Enough”, sets an appropriate tone for the album: upbeat, earnest, and natural. “Go Green” is one of the better songs on the album as well, with a slow, evolving introduction, a simple drum beat and guitar riff, and an impassioned Jasmyn first singing, then screaming out in need.
Perhaps the best constructed song, and one of the most fun, would have to be “Best Buildings”; another aggressive, unabashed piece that never ceases its fast tempo and is driven by Jasmyn’s saturated, throaty vocals.
In all, it is what was desired by Jasmyn and the band. “It’s what I wanted it to sound like,” she explains, discussing her musical process. “It’s weird: I listen for sounds and noises that I really like and then words follow. I write down lyrics and lines when something pops into my head, but I add them to guitar riffs and other sounds.”
“I mean, I don’t know how to play anyone else on guitar,” she says, laughing. “I don’t know how people play, I do it by ear.”
And so the process continues as the band tours and performs. Jasmyn conjures up new songs as they come into her head, some of which will be on display when they are return to play their release party on February 4 at Double Double Land in Toronto.
It is with energy and passion that RatTail perform, upping the volume and frenzy from their album to the live show. “We hope our shows are fun and natural,” Jasmyn explains. “We write music that for us is good and fun to listen to. I like simple stuff, music that I can run around to on stage.”
Much of the 10-track album follows the same formula, but it is truly a formula that works. The tracks and album do not extend too long and each song flows coherently into the next. “I Swim”, the final track, ends with Jasmyn’s signature voice fading away until the song comes to an abrupt end – a sign that something else, something new, is coming soon.
“We should have three or four new songs on tour,” concludes Jasmyn, explaining that they’ve played much of the new album live over the last year. “It’ll be a lot of fun though, we’re gonna spice it up.”