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"review on 'enough ratface'"

It may be obtuse to utter, but there was little in Ratface’s excellent debut offering …On Ice to suggest that, little over two years later, he’d be releasing a record as astonishing as Enough Ratface.
There has been a rapid evolution, almost maturity in the Ratface sound. From a six-foot tall white man ‘attempting hip-hop,’ what we have now is undeniably one of the most talented producers still touring the toilet clubs around Britain. If you ignore the lyrics, which remain as poignant as always, and concentrate on the music – put together in a bedroom – what we’re left with is something truly stunning. If EMI had any sense, they’d be getting Ratface in to put some hair on the balls of the next Lily Allen record – which would be a bizarrely wonderful pairing.
Tracks like ‘Ratface Got Soul’ and ‘The Month that Tried to Kill Me’ have a wink back to his bounce along live persona, but it is the slower, tweely menacing ‘Bubbles’ and the reflective ‘Goodbye Blue Monday’ that prove unexpected highlights.
He may be treading the boards of under appreciation for a long while yet, but undoubtedly anyone looking to pick at the surface of Ratface’s talents will find a world of treasures beneath. We certainly haven’t had Enough Ratface yet.
Gareth Main - bearded magazine

"review of 'down with ratface'"

Latest offering from Bristol's Bum Tapes is a collection of some of the most immediate, charming and vital pop songs to emerge from British backwaters in what seems like forever. Ratface, a one man and his four-track set-up from the same city, is purveyor of an aesthetic so irresistibly couched in the hooks and histrionics of the instant-song that "Down with Ratface", his official sophomore, manages to feel more at home, more comfortable & more likeable than most contemporary "popular" music whilst simultaneously throwing some of the most original moves in recent British indie-punk-hop. I use the term pop (rather than punk or hip-hop, which would fit nearly as well) because these songs of love, poverty, resignation, hope and masturbation are crafted, I think, with that projection in mind - they are designed to be sung, and remembered, but reference with a very English wit their own transient existence. This self-reflexiveness presents itself in the relentless rhyming couplets that skip and spit over the drum-machine and guitar backing tracks precisely like an MC just waiting to explode, both emotionally and to the wider audience that the music, by its very nature, demands. Take: "I am happy with the chances I've had / selling cd-rs out of a Tesco bag / I can guarantee you it's worth three pounds / and I can guarantee you've never heard this sound", which encapsulates the sardonic charm of an individual, a perfect piece of MC hyperbole, and the irrefutable arc of any music that manages to cram its way into making enough money to substantiate itself.

Early Wiley, Dizzee Rascal & Tricky come to mind as much as The Smiths or "Figure-8" era Elliott Smith - listening to a great Ratface song brings up such seemingly disparate reference points because his individualism is matched with an ear for the most satisfying 3 minutes you've had all week. The beats are driving, playful and totally lo-fi, the guitars fuzzed but melodically enticing. "Turn it Down" does what any perfect pop song should do - trace a familiar story with zeal, furious energy and hooks stolen from an abattoir, replete with a chorus that sticks like something you can't quite put your finger on - it's a rip-off of the thrill, a copy of the feeling that accompanies all great pop songs (which is what Sisamouth and the rest of the Cambodian and Thai rock n' roll/electro-psyche wunderkids were so profoundly good at replicating, and what most modern pop writers seem to have abandoned in favour of million-dollar production and soft-core pornography). But the album makes some wonderful departures from the formula, most notably in "The Saviour and the Serpent", a haunting dirge that descends into one refrain, "bring it in / bring it out", screamed over an increasingly paranoid backing that finally self-destructs. Then "The Wet Song": "Sitting here on this dirty mattress / while the bishop decides what to say to the actress / focus on the pain and the amateur dramatics / blame it on the past or being out of practice", enacts a failure both truthful and necessary, that essential melodic empathy that sows such beautiful desire inside the listener - it's the recognition of the reaction to a great song, sung itself inside a great song: "sit wide awake with an empty belly / watch the dawn light the walls like it was on telly", reality as an analogy to artificial or virtual forms whose attraction is their very pervasiveness in everyday life. Ratface sings that everyday life with an infectious passion that you can't help but reciprocate - or at least dance to like a madman.

"Down with Ratface" has its low-points for sure, a couple of songs fail to transcend their own rudimentary beats and don't quite burst into life like the rest - but somehow this only makes the best songs even better. Album closer "Another Shit Date" traces a depressing urban situation with the same beautiful potential as the Blues greats transcended their environment - like Dylan said, by singing the blues, they've got them licked. In other words the album ends with a juxtaposition of rue, heartache and hope that pervades the whole record, a final act of self-awareness that is the hallmark of Ratface's pop genius. If you hate this, you are wrong. 9/10 -- Joe Luna (20 August, 2008)

- foxy digitalis

"review of 'down with ratface'"

If I'm going to use hyperbole, and to be honest I'm quite prone to it, I would describe Ratface as the genius of the nouveaux punk generation.

Of course, to do so would do something of an injustice to all the other nouveaux punks out there such as Paul Hawkins and Chris T-T who are doing things lo-fi, with ingenious, sometimes simplistic sometimes altruistic lyrics.

But Ratface leads the pack really, his debut long-player …On Ice was one of Bearded's records of 2007, it belied what a £3 record should be worth in label terms. Released on tiny DIY label At the Library, it was certainly the best value record of all time, not just 2007, due in part because of the cost, but primarily because of what was included on the record, every track a perfect slice of what the man himself describes as 'punk-hop', which I imagine is hip-hop without the bling, without the faux-street stories from your view from the mansion and without the horrendous levels of bullshit.

The most important thing that comes out of his follow-up, Down with Ratface, is that, although it comes less than a year after …On Ice, it is a significant progression from his debut. The lyrics are still insightful, sometimes humorous, but the beats, the music and Ratface's vocal style is somewhat darker, more polished and, whilst its predecessor was a jump around in your bedroom bed breaker, this is a real showcase of the man's ability as an artist, rather than a punk rocker trying to go hip-hop.

As a case-in-point, opener 'Ratface Wins' is bass heavy and the frontman's shouting style is more directed, less wayward and this makes his lyrics more prominent, which despite the rather amazing backing tracks, is the entire point. This call to arms, rather like most of his debut, is a self-serving critique about pretty much everything in life and, however bad that might sound, it is entirely uplifting.

Where this record stutters compared to his debut is in its consistency. While 'Ratface Wins', 'The Happy Song', 'Faith' and 'Turn it Down' open the record with a superb step on from …On Ice, the middle part of the record takes an altogether different direction, slowing down the beats, a little more dark and devious. Whilst 'The Saviour and the Serpent' grinds away, you realise that Ratface is a man of different talents. This is reassuring, but like a DJ who chucks a few experimental jazz records on in the middle of his set, it forces you off the dancefloor and makes you sit and listen – it's good, but unlike the weight shedding effects of dancing around to a record that doesn't pause for thought, you're more likely to sit around eating chips until he gets back into the flow.

The record steps back up a gear for 'Blah Blah Blah' to critique the music industry before 'The Wet Song' slows for an unprecedented step into an acoustic arena. It would be a gorgeous end to the record, but not as exceptional as the record's actual closer, 'Another Shit Date', another stripped back, slowed down sing-along that continues the first person dialogue. It shows of Ratface's ability to mix styles and genres with ease, whilst poignant, direct lyrics drag the listener in to start thinking.

That is the theme of Ratface, and certainly of Down with Ratface. His debut was an incredible straight-laced club romp that introduced you to the punk-hop, its follow up is a digression, but also an advancement into his diversity, his ability to change the mood at will whilst keeping you interested and listening. A few more live shows and a bit more coverage and the non-DIY labels will surely come knocking, whether he'll want to answer the door, and whether we'll want him to, is an entirely different question.

Gareth Main

- bearded magazine

"review of 'enough ratface'"

Ratface – Enough Ratface (Bum Tapes)
The first time I listened to this, I hated it. Even on the second listen, the disk accidentally fell in the bin. But, all of a sudden, it all makes sense, and I'm enjoying myself.
Ratface is a one man band. Well, modern indie/rap vocals over a post-party intellectual sampled backing. If you knew an Icelandic group called Quarashi, the vocals are a British version of that. And the backing is an Aphex Twin/Luke Vibert/Nathan Fake, a collection of samples that work so well together, and have an altogether homemade feel – which is Ratface's charm really. You know this is one guy in a room in Bristol. And that's what makes it so brilliant.
“Ratface Got Soul” and “Fruit an Veg” are definitely highlight tracks, and thankfully they're the opening tracks!- but the entire album is of a similar vibe and pretty good, although the songs backings so start to lose the intelligent sampling and become more electro sequences. But no, every song is certainly better than bad.
Eight out of ten to Mr. Ratface.
Thom Curtis - tasty fanzine


Ratface...... on ice ( 2007- at the library records)
Ratface ... down with.... ( 2008- bumtapes)
Ratface... enough ( 2009- bumtapes an bearded records)

Currnetly working on forthcoming album for Brainlove records



Ratface was born out of a love for the diy punk that i grew up on and an obssession with leftfield hip hop an dub reggae. Building on this i spent a few years in the wilderness of unemployment an bedsit madness, honing this hybrid sound an gigging around bristol an the south west. A happy, sweaty gig at a community centre in spring 2007 led to a chance meeting with southampton punk label 'at the library records', a short uk tour an my first record 'ratface on ice'. In early 2008 i played a massive squat party that was part of a city wide demonstration an which hooked me up with the local free party scene. That summer was jam packed with great some squat parties an benefit gigs around st pauls an the east bristol area. Around this time i also hooked up with bristol based noise label bumtapes recordings, who put out my second record 'down with ratface' an in the autumn i did a 10 date tour of new york state through anti -folk band dufus. In early 2009 i gained a bit of rare national coverage with a feature in Bearded magazine, who also asked for some songs to be released with the issue. This turned into a
EP an then a mini album, which was eventually released as 'enough ratface' on bumtapes. 2009 turned out to be a tough year locally, with many local squats a venues bein closed down, so i pushed further a field again with gigs up north, mainly in manchester an liverpool, an in london, with some late night slots at Coco's an Shunt. Recently i have been working with some new producers, putting on benefit shows an working towards a new full length for london label Brainlove records.