Low Rats

Year Of The Rat MMXX

From the Trashmen to the Replacements, Minneapolis has an improbable legacy of untethered garage-rock and punk. Add Low Rats to that lineage.

On their debut LP, the quartet distills seedy psychobilly, Heartbreakers hooks, and rumbling surf – and that’s just on the opener, “Ex Crisis.” Elsewhere, “She’s My Witch” is a nugget hinting at Roky Erickson, while “The Corner” suggests NYC proto-punk, its percussive piano and vocalist Mike Gallows’ howl evoking the New York Dolls’ latter-day transformation of ’50s rock.

Guitarist Poison Sell’s standout turn, however, might be the single “Cryin’ And Moanin’.” Here, the insistent rockabilly riffing-and-vibrato-workouts are filtered through his trusty Gretsch and complemented by a shout-along chorus and Gallows’ young-Iggy sneer. Bass-driven and reverb-drenched, “The Old Guard” adds to the overall dynamics, but leaves the listener longing for a return to form – which arrives henceforth with “You Ignore Me.” To be sure, there’s little flyover material in this 10-track set of Midwest raunch.

Fans of rowdy roots from Supersuckers to Dex Romweber will rejoice to these sinister, snotty exercises with a whiff of sulphur, few surpassing the three-minute mark – as it should be.

This article originally appeared in VG’s April 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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