By Django Gold
Lying somewhere between punk, hard rock, and even at times metal, Dead Cats Dead Rats are a musical force to be reckoned with. They have all the trappings of your prototypical punk act—raucous vocals, crunchy guitars, growling bass, reckless drumming—but they distinguish themselves from the pack simply by doing what they do very well. Their sound harkens back to days of moshpits, bottom-shelf vodka, and getting a ride to band practice from your Mom. Their tracks are largely straight-ahead punk rockers like “Yellow Fever,” which manages to get the job done just under the two-minute mark. Similarly with the whining guitar and Nirvana-tinged vocals of “Donkey Lips.”
That is not to say that DCDR is averse to stretching out a bit; take “Concrete Pillow,” which utilizes to perfection a guitar-vox unison line as well as—out of nowhere—an honest-to-God coda. Not the kind of stuff you usually see among the Fender Squier set. Or “Helevator,” whose rumbling bass opening could have come straight out of a Primus jam session. Granted, like most punk acts committed to the cause, DCDR doesn’t have all the diversity of sound you might like to hear, if only for a palate cleanser; please apply elsewhere for your catchy hooks and acoustic balladry. But Dead Cats Dead Rats clearly has a firm handle on the punk-rock trio sound, and from the looks of it, they’re not going to give it up without a fight.
Dead Cats Dead Rats perform at the Middle East Upstairs on Friday, September 25th with Big Bear, You Need New Glasses, and Tinsel Teeth.