This is a review of "Deadbeat" recorded by China Rats. The review was written by Paul Smerdyakov in 2013.
The first thing to say about China Rats' 'Deadbeat' (taken from upcoming 'Don't Play With Fire EP) is that this is a band who know precisely what they've set out to achieve with their sound and how to achieve it. Every member of the band puts in exactly the right amount, the mixing (Matt Peel) is great - it's just really well crafted. As a result, 'Deadbeat' is one of those awesome tracks that puts a hand on either side of your head and holds you firmly in place while it eyeballs you for three minutes.
The sound is that very in-vogue reverb-drenched fuzzy lo-fi, a decent jump away from the first stuff I heard from the China Rats a year or so ago, but then this is loads stronger so - regardless of whether the sound has changed to suit the times - it's changed for the better. The vocals are prominent in the mix, expertly surfing the sonic wave underneath and delivering punchiness to intersect the fuzzing, rumbling strings. It has a driving quality similar to that of The Skids' Into The Valley, one of the songs that sprang to mind on first listen here - I suspect China Rats have done their homework when it comes to structuring their tunes and they've got an A* and a sticker for it.
If you're the kind of person who absolutely needs great lyrics to be interested, it's not the song for you, but maybe you need to just relax that a little, because you miss out on brill songs like this. Lyrically, it's not a world-changer, the opening gambit: "We're going in and out of style/ We don't need no information" is very Iggy, pretty clichéd, the verses continue in much the same vein.
But so what? It's brilliant pop music, the hooky vocal melody fits effortlessly and the continued use of "we" throughout makes it a potential sing-along, by the end of the track even I was convinced I was part of the "we" and I'm very much a solitary, singular bastard. The chorus - //We're just so fresh, just so clean//We've got no style, no self-esteem// is again pretty derivative but it's instantly memorable and I can envisage the young crowd bouncing around indie nights: cocker spaniels fed exclusively on energy drinks, barking it like a mantra.
The first line of that chorus is spot on, by the way, this song is refreshing to the extent a parched survivor of a desert plane crash would struggle to choose between listening to 'Deadbeat' and drinking ice cool water. I do struggle to believe that second half though, because this song has style and self-esteem in huge, hemp sacks like the ones farmers keep oats and deformed animals in. Pitched somewhere between Husker Du and The Vaccines, this is great pop music and bodes very well for the EP release (30.9.13).
China Rats headline The Brudenell on 01/10/13 as part of a 9-date headline tour.