Like Rats From A Sinking Ship

We Get Along Like A House On Fire

Written by: AP on 16/10/2011 13:44:12

Having been intrigued by their recent live performance here in Copenhagen, giving the debut album of Like Rats from a Sinking Ship a listen felt almost like an obligation. On record the band is just as eclectic as on stage - the band features just three members, two of them alternating between keyboard, guitar and vocals, and one playing drums - combining whatever elements they please into a mixture that rarely conforms to one style definition.

Opener "Beneath a Plastic Sun", for instance, begins by flirting with post-rock and drone before collapsing into a mathematic frenzy near the 7-minute mark, suggesting that a band like the Ocean might be the most appropriate reference when attempting to pinpoint the influences underlying Like Rats from a Sinking Ship's sound. But "From Russia with Crabs" and "Honk If You're a Nihilist" then expose an altogether different beast with a minute and a half of heavily sampled grindcore and just short of a minute of Converge inspired fury, respectively; this trio essentially plays like a mission statement, cementing that the Norwegians refuse to belong anywhere. Indeed, "Lesson #9" also extends this idea with a more straightforward and memorable hardcore track infused with traces of classic punk, its two-pronged approach bringing to mind both Gallows and Pulled Apart by Horses.

But while the multiple appendages protruding from the band's hardcore body certainly provide variation, it is in the simpler hardcore bangers like the aforementioned "Honk If You're a Nihilist" and fifth song and album highlight "Mørketid" that Like Rats from a Sinking Ship come to their own with a barrage of intensity seldom heard from bands whose names do not begin with con and end in verge. As such, while ambient, exploratory pieces like "One Bird in the Hand is Worth Nothing" are certainly quite impressive in their own right, they have a tendency to sound like mere inconsequential interludes when placed in between their faster, heavier and quirkier counterparts.

That is not to say that a song like "Sleep vs. Shark Week", which seamlessly blends a casual Blur-like rock drive with lingering atmospherics and screaming explosions, is entirely forgettable - quite the opposite, in fact, as the song effectively represents the most successful symbiosis of Like Rats from a Sinking Ship's eclectic influences; one which has no trouble finding a suitable slot within the album. Album closer "UNDR3553D 4 5UCC5355" mirrors the math rock stylings heard earlier on "Peace, Love & Bankruptcy" and, to some extent, on "Lesson #9", and so brings things to a contorted conclusion in vein with the overall feel of the album. "We Get Along Like a House on Fire" is a fine debut, but what is still needed from the Norwegians is more structure and focus.

7

Download: Honk If You're a Nihilist, Lesson #9, Mørketid, Sleep vs. Shark Week, UNDR3553D 4 5UCC5355
For the fans of: Aristillus, Blood Command, Rumble in Rhodos
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Release date 06.06.2011
The Perfect Hoax / Indie Distribution

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