The Ratchets
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The Ratchets

Band Rock Punk


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The best kept secret in music


"Time Out New York"

The Ratchets' noisy, surfy rock is as much a love letter to the Clash as it is classic '60s beach-blanket pop. The [four]-piece blends reggae, punk and classic guitar-based rock, every once in a while throwing in jangly melodies that are, like, far out, man. - Issue No. 457

"Under The Volcano #81 2004"

This four-song debut EP shows incredible promise. Combining 50's and 60's Rock n' Roll with a Reggae guitar influence, this New Jersey-based four-piece could be described as The Clash meets later-period Rancid meets Dion and The Belmonts, with a vocalist that sounds like a cross between Strummer, Tim Armstrong, Jeff Ott, and Chris from Lawrence Arms (I know, it gets confusing, but stay with me). The first two tracks, "Naming all the Wolves" and "77A Broadway" are the real gems, but the final two songs are no slouchers either. As far as Rock n' Roll bands go, The Ratchets are not raging and alcohol-fueled like so many of my favorites, but they have that same intensity and emotion, just conveyed in a different, albeit more downcast way. - McClernon

"Impact Press #52 - Aug/Sept 2004"

The Ratchets play good beer drinkin' rock tunes that bring to mind The Clash, The Specials, and maybe even a bit of Mike Ness-like vocals. The band features ex-members of Worthless United, Plan A Project, and Crucial. This is just a four-song taste of what this band can do with their Brit-sounding rock and roll, influenced by bits of punk, reggae and blues. - CM

"Skratch Magazine - Aug 04"

The Rachets bring forth a very refreshing fusion of rock music with surf rock with its four-song EP on Chunksaah Records. While the songs are great, I think it's a testament to how good this band is when, after you listen to the EP, you realize they recorded it in 14 hours after having just three practices. While "Naming all the Wolves" has the surf-rock feel, the highlight of the EP is "77A Broadway", which sounds like it is directly influenced by The Clash. If you like The Clash, you'll feel right at home listening to The Ratchets. If this band is this good after just three practices, imagine how much potential they have. - Dane Jackson

"Amp Magazine - June 2005"

Holy shit do I love this band. Playing ’77 style punk rock and roll in the style of THE CLASH and STIFF LITTLE FINGERS, with a bit of THE JAM thrown in for good measure, these dudes blow me away. When I hear stuff like this, I think to myself ‘why can’t every band sound like this?’ But then I answer my own question and say ‘because if they did, it would be watered down and suck like the rest of the crap out there.’ So be grateful for the few bands out there like this who kick ass and do something different by bringing back something old. When you fuse punk, rock, and reggae and manage to get compared to THE CLASH, you know you’re doing it right. The only thing that sucks is it’s an EP – six songs just aren’t enough. C’mon guys – we need a full-length!! Seriously fucking killer stuff here. - MWB

"Left Off The Dial - Aug 2005"

Some bands spend their days chugging along half-assed, expecting to be heard quickly and praised; others start at the bottom, might not ever make it fully across the table, but they give it their entire hearts and maintain a smile. The Ratchets are a band that is full-gutted when it comes to their music and message and their grit and grin, and I sincerely hope they gain a bit of a following. They’re small city roots rock, Americana blue collar punk hailing out of back alley, Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Think anthemic Rancid and rootsy Social Distortion with the politics and sting of the Clash. The Ratchets have a great street rock grit combined with heartland punk swagger. Elements of reggae churn up the mood, adding a great sing-a-long vibe to the fire. With their upbeat mood, they can drive anyone through motivation and movement. From nowhere comes a voice for hometown punk rock with a sweaty truth about it and realism that’s close to unsung at the moment.

The Ratchets just come off a tour with The Dickies, lost a crucial drummer, gained another, and are ready to press a bit harder. Please check out this EP; it’s about as true and gritty as they get these days – street punk rock at its finest. Look closely for them on top ten lists soon. They’re worthy and collectible. - Chaz Martenstein

"Kamikazewords July 2005"

For younger fans who haven’t yet unearthed some of punk rock’s most celebrated classics, Heart Of Town might be something of a curveball. The echo of the 70's punk canon -- bastardized and/or buried by most bands associating themselves with “punk music” -- has eroded almost beyond recognition. For the most part, that’s how it should be; sounds are supposed to evolve. Things are supposed to change.

But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to cut through the sea of shitty bands. So while the Ratchets will find comparisons to the Clash hard to avoid or dispute, maybe that’s not a bad thing. After all, we’ve got plenty of pop-punk bands singing about girls, and plenty of modern mosh / nü-metal dressed up to resemble something more authentic -- and so many times, these bands are impotent, vacant, and totally disposable. So if the next big sound gives birth to so much useless music, maybe looking back in time is worthwhile. It’s not like we’re overwhelmed with mature, roots-rock-reggae-influenced bands in 2005.

With all Clash comparisons set safely to the side, an objective look at Heart Of Town reveals an incredibly catchy and extremely memorable EP. There is something inherently smooth about the Ratchets, a genuine feel the band has for the music they are playing that makes you want to listen to the same songs over and over. And the Ratchets’ understated deftness in blending surf and reggae into their rock songs is really quite impressive. Maybe it’s because so many bands have tried to do this and failed miserably, but then that’s even more reason to pay attention. Either way, the raspy, yet tuneful vocals, the well-placed guitar leads, the storytelling implicit in both the arrangements and vocals: It all makes for a great offering. Heart Of Town is at once airy and electric, anthemic and cynical, raw and polished.

Both the writing and recording of this EP reveal a focus that most bands never even graze. What makes this so interesting is that Heart Of Town is the Ratchets’ first proper release. Maybe this was foretold; their demo was met with both fan and critical acclaim, recorded after three practices.

The Ratchets are taking something vaguely old and making it into something vaguely new. What would one call that -- timelessness? Either way, “Iraqi Vice” (track 2) is a hit. - Ronen Kauffman

"Pastepunk - July 2005"

Heart of Town is the debut "official" release from this New Jersey group, composed of former members of PLAN A PROJECT and WORTHLESS UNITED, and which includes Zak Kaplan of Chunksaah Records (on guitar and vocals). The six songs to this EP are textbook classic punk rock n' roll (with dabs of reggae), owing much to the signature sounds of THE CLASH, RANCID, and the US BOMBS, among others. The second track on here, "Iraqi Vice" is like a long-lost recording from RANCID's And Out Come The Wolves. THE RATCHETS aren't terribly concerned with speed, as Heart of Town merely bounces along, but the thick, brillantly recorded guitars are mesmerizing, and the clean, fluid bass lines leap right through the distortion. Jed Engine and Zak split lead vocal duties throughout the release, and they've got an electric chemistry between the two of them that would make Tim and Lars proud, particularly on the fourth track "77A Broadway." The final track "No Reason," is the group's most ambitious tune, and the guitar and vocal melodies will drive you into submission. At roughly 20 minutes, this EP feels accomplished and alive the whole way through. I want more. - Jordan A. Baker

"Fake Train - July 1005"

Punchy, straightforward, loud British influenced punk-rock, The Ratchets' six song Heart of Town is an enjoyable listen to counter these hot and humid days.

Catchy jangly rock 'n roll, Asbury Park, New Jersey's The Ratchets pistol-whips ears with a potent fusion of The Clash and Rancid. A rock energy that packs sharp bullets of rock, punk, pop, and some reggae, Heart of Town's standout track, "Iraqi Vice" may just be one of the most infectious rockers you hear this year. With gruff vocals, memorable buzzing guitar hooks, handclaps, and a solid beat, The Ratchets revise the sound of 1977, and it kicks ass.

They say it best on "77A Broadway," "Taking it downtown / Three chords and a bass line / The rhythm feels good / Gotta keep it in time now...We're gonna count to four and we're really gonna move...1-2-3-4." And move you will.

Heart of Town is definitely a solid EP, and I'm eager to hear a full-length. This is good stuff. - Ken Hawk

"New York Post Aug 15, 2005"

From the article titled PRIME WARP reporting on this year's Warp Tour at Randall's Island: "Best second-stage act: NJ's The Ratchets, who had the unenviable position of playing between a water tank truck and a French-fry stand." - By Dan Aquilante and Maxine Shen


Heart Of Town (Hell Bent Records)
Release Date: June 21, 2005
1) Heart of Town
2) Iraqi Vice
3) All Debts Get Paid
4) 77A Broadway
5) Johnny Too Bad
6) No Reason

Chunksaah/Hellbent Records Sampler 2004
1) 77A Broadway

Demo EP (Chunksaah Records 2004)
1) Naming All The Wolves
2) 77A Broadway
3) Colombus Stockade Blues
4) The Fire

VICE Magazine Compilation (Volume 12, Number 4 - June 2005)
1) Heart of Town

Loud Fast Rules! Magazine Compilation (Issue #1, Summer 2005)
1) Iraqi Vice


Feeling a bit camera shy


Old friends, played-out scenes and ultimately the will to make timeless music are the threads that brought THE RATCHETS together. Taking their name from a lyric in The Slicker’s song “Johnny Too Bad” they fuse rock-n-roll, punk and reggae music with their very own explosive blend of songwriting. With a common goal, this four piece has set their eyes on creating music with both substance and sound, something music journalists love to write about but bands rarely accomplish. They walk the line with yesterday’s ghosts, and yet somehow also manage to bleed new blood into their redefinition of rock-n-roll. It is this pursuit, the want to raise the bar and create music that will resonate for years to come, that they’ve hinged their career upon. Ready or not, THE RATCHETS are here to deliver the promise inherent in all great rock-n-roll groups, a promise to get out on the ledge…to walk though the fire…to pray like the hunted.

Formed in the fall of 2003, THE RATCHETS recorded their first EP release after just three practices as a four piece. From the opening minor chords of “Naming all the Wolves” they’ve already begun to state their case. Their lyrical landscape has been ripped from their forbearers, but don’t fret, THE RATCHETS own these words now. With “77A Broadway” a song celebrating their formation, they bring a second voice to their sound and also showcase their musical prowess. The third track “Columbus Stockade Blues,” is a traditional folk song where staccato reggae and rockabilly rhythms are mingled with a staggering effect. By the closing of the EP, THE RATCHETS manage to give you an honest view of their beginning and a glimpse of their future. Ringing out with “The Fire” a song about dreams damaged by passing time, it is the chorus that holds a rousing message aimed directly at you, the listener: “Lined side by side this fire no one can put out.”

Not ones to mince words, THE RATCHETS open their first official release Heart of Town (Hell Bent Records) with the EP’s title track- a four-plus minute call-to-arms that sets the pace for the group’s brisk dynamic range. The massive outro in "Heart of Town" spotlights the band’s ability to take the less-traveled punk-rock-n-roll thruway- a place where reggae, punk, folk & rockabilly music waffle in and out of one another with ease. And while the punky "Iraqi Vice," with lyrics touting porno shops in Baghdad guarded with automatic rifles shows smarts, it is "All Debts Get Paid" with its Bo Diddley-strut along with the crowd-pleasing "77A Broadway" where they hit their stride. When the singer shouts “We’re gonna count to four and we’re really gonna move” during the breakdown of "77A Broadway" it’s to be taken at face value. Because while THE RATCHETS are here to make music with a message, they also pledge allegiance to the almighty rock-n-roll beat- with aims to get your heart pumping. Solidifying this claim is their passionate take on the reggae classic "Johnny Too Bad," the very song that brands them. With its rebel-tinged lyrics, this tune always had the makings of a down-stroked punk anthem- something this group makes readily apparent. Twenty minutes later and six-songs in, the EP closes with "No Reason" and THE RATCHETS end up delivering more on an EP than most bands do on a punk rock full length. And in a time where record labels’ advertising dollars are fighting for our attention with glitzy production, pre-meditated fashion and market research, it seems legitimate that THE RATCHETS combat this the only way they know how- by singing about the truth which lies in interactions between people, places and things and the underlying hope for change that is present there. It is this will to hope that is apparent on Heart of Town, embedded in the music and rooted in the voices- listen up.

Press | Booking | Management:
Lauren Kruk at Permanent Rebel
201.413.0293 -