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(Credit: Jenny Brough)


Album of the Week: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes celebrate their sins on 'Sticky'

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes - 'Sticky'

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes have a relentless attitude. Since their formation in 2015, they are yet to slow down, relentlessly pushing forward in their pursuit of boundary-pushing creativity. Even during a global pandemic, the band poured their time into creating their fourth album, Sticky, and it’s their most energetic yet.

For an album made in such a time of global flux, Carter and his rabid Rattlesnakes could have understandably licked their wounds. Thankfully, they’ve come out all guns blazing on Sticky, which is a non-stop, headfirst trip into a hedonist’s paradise. There’s no lockdown misery insight, and instead, it’s an alcohol stained celebration of hazy evenings that flash by in the blink of an eye.

Album opener, ‘Sticky’, is the title track for a reason, and it epitomises the reckless, chaotic spirit of the record. It gets proceedings off to a firebrand start as Carter contemplates his decisions, as he sings, “What the fuck is wrong with me? Kicking around at half-past three, In the morning, Horny, Got nowhere to sleep, At least I’m never boring.” Those lyrics sum up an attitude that Carter exhibits across the entire record. He’s not perfect, but nobody knows that more than himself, yet that doesn’t stop him from having the time of his life and embracing indulgence.

From a sonic perspective, Sticky feels like The Rattlesnakes have turned their speed up to 1.5x. They keep up this hectic, frenetic pace throughout the album, which creates a suffocating but exhilarating experience.

It’s designed to be claustrophobic, and Carter tightens his grip on the thrilling ‘Rat Race’ and ‘My Town’. The latter features Joe Talbot from Idles, and the lethal combination of British punk’s two most cherished heavyweights bring the angst.

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Collaboration is a vital part of Sticky and breathes life throughout the record. Most notably is the emergence of London’s underground queer sensation, Lynks, who is a revelation. Their first moment comes on the lively ‘Bang Bang’, where they paint an unenviable image of a night out, singing: “Boys on gak, Singing ‘Girls on Film’, At the top of the lungs.” Lynks’ enthusiasm bounces off Carter’s aggression, and together they make an unlikely pairing, but there’s no shortage of chemistry between them.

We catch up with Lynks again later in the album on ‘Go Get A Tattoo’, a track in which they put in an equally electrifying display. While the song is literally about getting an impromptu drunken tattoo – as the title suggests – it doesn’t have any great depth to it, but that’s the whole point of Sticky. The record is about momentarily escaping the worries that life throws up at you and embracing spontaneity.

Sadly, rising alternative rock star Cassyette combines less fluently with The Rattlesnakes on the raging ‘Off With His Head’ with her vocals clashing with Carter. Ultimately, she’s barely audible when they sing in unison with her sadly underutilised.

While Lynks is the album’s revelation, it’s Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, who offers haunting tones on the closing track ‘Original Sin’, who arrives as the record’s most striking moment. In fact, his cameo somewhat resembles the arrival of the ghost from hedonism’s past in a depraved version of A Christmas Carol. Here we find Carter face up to the errors of his ways and soberly reflect on his mistakes which tie the album in a quasi-religious manner.

Sticky is a strong outing from The Rattlesnakes, undoubtedly their most adhesive yet. It’s visceral, straight to the point, ferocious punk that stings you in your throat like a shot of vodka. While it isn’t a complicated album from a technical standpoint, they make up for that in the bounds of energy they inject. If you were unsure about going out tonight, press play, and you’ll find yourself stumbling into a bar in no time.

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