You know how it goes sometimes, life stalls, positive outlooks go for a burton giving rise to a fog that surrounds your day to day existence. Now people, don’t start getting out the razor blades, this isn’t a self pitying monologue of woe and misery. But we all get those times when things aren’t going the way want and we return to what’s comforting to us. Being a growing Yorkshire Lad who loves his food its roast beef and Yorkshire pud (that only mum can make) or my personal fave, sticky toffee pudding and lumpy custard.
You return to your cave and surround yourself with familiar things that you know will lift your spirit and make life seem that little bit better. For many of us, me included that process involves my music choices, the playlist of least resistance where it’s going to improve my mood pretty quickly with not much effort on my part. Now who’s on there from me, who’s going to boost my get up and go levels and stop me being a grumpy old git ?( well for a short time ). For me it would include some Cage The Elephant, Twisted Wheel or some 90’s Brit Pop (shock horror!!!).
It’s all about feeling good. Even more so with the way things are in the world we all want to feel it.
A band that’s building a reputation for turning the frown upside down is Leeds four piece China Rats. Booked to appear at Benicassim last year on a smaller side stage the lads had the folks watching in a feel good frenzy. This didn’t go unnoticed by the bookers and organisers of the gig who were in their smoky back rooms sweating and panicking over the fact that Headline act for the Trident Stage, Bat For Lashes were unable to attend the next night. So after some quick negotiation the lads were on for more of the same and by all accounts they took the roof off.
Formed in the summer of 2011 the band consists of
Graeme Thomson – Lead Vocals / Guitar
Luke Smith – Lead Guitar / Vocals
Jedidiah Allcock – Bass / Vocals ( great name for a bassist top work mum and dad)
George Riley – Drums
They released their debut EP ‘To Be Like I’ in April 2012 the title track has the feel of an updated 60’s Liverpool sound also reminding me of bands like Shed Seven and Cast with a punky twist in the tail. This debut caught the eye of Huw Stephens from the BBC which ended up with the band being on the Radio 1 Introducing Playlist with their single ‘N.O.M.O.N.E.Y’ a real tub thumper of a single driving along with an almost tribal feel (what with the state of the UK’s finances at the moment it could be our new national anthem ) and a taste of the Ramones thrown in for good measure. Its certainly my favourite single of theirs up to now. I believe it was John Peel who once said Teenage Kicks by the Undertones was the perfect pop song with part of the right formula being a 3 minute run time. The China Rats have chosen the right recipe without doubt ( it also doesn’t hurt to have a front man who has a touch of Mr Sharkey in his voice) with most of their songs coming in fast and furious around that time mark.
Having taken part in a headliner gig at ‘The Old Blue Last’ in London this week that was free entry ( nice touch boys ) and festivals on the horizon the band has a 2013 to really look forward to especially with a possible return to Benicassim ( hopefully on a more prominent stage first time round) and a home show in the form of Live at Leeds, I will be keeping an eye on these chaps.
The feel good factor has returned with a vengeance after listening to the China Rats and I can happily say they have made it onto my “Cheer Up Grumpy Bugger” Playlist, with upbeat familiar sounding songs of the perfect length. The comfort factor of knowing what you’re getting is most welcome here. They say familiarity breeds contempt, but in the case of the China Rats its most definitely a big fat lie.