Album Review: RAT BOY - 'Internationally Unknown'


Rat Boy’s newest release, the album titled ‘internationally Unknown’ following  the 2017 release of ‘SCUM’ is in my opinion one of his best yet. The twelve track album sees him teaming up with Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and is out now via Parlophone and Armstrong’s Hellcat records. 

Rat Boy whose real name is Jordan Cardy flew to Los Angeles to record with Armstrong, having previously mentioned the punk legend as being one of his influences in creating music. Although this album is somewhat reminiscent of the classic rat boy sound that was first heard in tracks suck as ‘Sign On’ and ‘Fake ID’ and for me sparked my love for Rat Boy as an artist. Especially in tracks such as ‘Internationally Unknown’ and ‘Chip On My Shoulder’, the singers sound has certainly evolved from his previous album ‘SCUM’ to this new release. The influence from American pop-punk is evident and it could be said rat boy is the furthest from his original classically British sound he’s ever been. This is particularly poignant on ‘no peace not justice’ as Rat Boy’s Essex accent is softened by a slight Californian twang. Instead of this coming across as a betrayal to his roots, I think it’s an interesting development that adds a more worldliness to his music, since the lyrics still feel familiarly anarchic and British. 

A theme that seems to run through the album is rebellion against the traditional societal power, the lyrics in ‘Don’t Hesitate’ especially paint Cardy as the caricature of the working class. But with a positive spin that’s evident from the title and the chorus lyrics “Don’t hesitate, we’re here right now, so choose your fate”. This hopeful yet rebellious attitude makes for an album that leaves you feeling motivated to make positive change in life and not let the sometimes oppressive atmosphere of politics and society weigh you down.

Even without the inspiring lyrics ‘Internationally Unknown’ is a wonderful mix of sounds seemingly drawn from hip-hop, punk and British rap. The varied album truly shows off Rat boy’s multi faceted talent as an artist and I would highly recommend giving it a listen.

Words by Juno Harley Davies