Album Review: Ratboys – GN

If ten songs come together to sound like individual stories in the same book, that’s when an album is not only cohesive but enthralling and definitely one to put on repeat. Ratboys’ latest, “GN”, is exactly that: each sticky-smooth track is something new and exciting as you wander through the woods of “GN” without knowing where you’re going or what will happen when you get there.

As lead vocalist Julia Steiner says, it’s “largely detail[ed] experiences of saying goodbye, finding your way home, and then figuring out what the hell to do once you’re back.” 

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It was easy for me to fall for this album. As it does sound almost like a storybook full of narratives, each track is intensely personal, which is something that I love when listening to new music. An intimate connection feels imminent by the second or third song, which is right when you can tell that you’re getting deep into the music. It’s clear that Julia Steiner and Dave Sagan have a second gift besides music-making, and they’re able to touch souls with Ratboys’ second full-length album.

“GN” sounds almost like a blend of bedroom pop and folk music – and although I’ve never heard of that combination (or “post-country”), it was easy to enjoy as I was simultaneously feeling more emotions than I thought were possible and wanting to dance along. In fact, you can hear the wholesome, DIY, homey sound right at the beginning: “Molly” sounds as though it should be accompanied by the opening credits of a lovely feel-good movie about a couple who live together in the mountains of Tennessee. On the other hand, “Elvis in The Freezer” is slower and softer, all shiny silver tinsel, the kind that’s thin enough to feel like it could disintegrate between your fingertips.

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I must admit, I’ve never heard of post-country. I tend to stay far away from any music involving the descriptor “country”, but I loved “GN” so quickly that I just might check it out a little more. It was similar to Diet Cig, but with a twist of classic Americana and folk music – which is an unexpectedly solid combination of genres. The album is slow, sweet and free, and Ratboys have truly entered into an incredible new chapter of music-making with “GN”, and although they aren’t coming to Columbus on this tour, the drive to Cleveland or Pittsburgh would be more than worth it.

The album is slow, sweet and free, and Ratboys have truly entered into an incredible new chapter of music-making with “GN”, and although they aren’t coming to Columbus on this tour, the drive to Cleveland or Pittsburgh would be more than worth it.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

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