Australian band Rat Columns’ new album Candle Power, coming out on Upset the Rhythm, has something for everyone. David West, with Amber Gempton, Louis Hooper, and Chris Cobilis, has used his experience in groups like punk band Rank/Xerox, Liberation, Lace Curtain, and Total Control, to craft an expansive album you can spin again and again without ever getting bored. With glistening pop, stellar synth work, and lo-fi garage rock all on the same album, I had to double check to make sure my iTunes weren’t on shuffle and they weren’t! West and co. have crafted a multidimensional, genre-spanning work of art. While each song has a different vibe, West’s sweet voice and earnest lyrics make the work a cohesive whole, matching introspective lyrics with upbeat rhythms.
The sunny “Someone Else’s Dream” opens the album, a lo-fi garage rock smash pining over the missed opportunities of the past, followed by the twinkling “She Loves the Rain.” Standout track “Blinded by the Shadow” has gulping synths and drum beats open the song, a number sure to have you moving along to the tune. West whispers his lyrics over the music, drawing you deeper in before the chorus erupts. One of the catchier tracks on the album, the backbone beats will stick in your head long after the song has ended. The following track “Time’s No Vessel” features beachy melodies and Gempton’s vocals added to sweeten the song. Listen to this one while drinking a mai-tai and trying to forget time is always slipping away from us. “Is This Really What You’re Like” West meditates on if we ever really know those we are close to or not. After the tumultuous political season globally with Brexit, the United States’ election, and more, we’re often left questioning our closest relationships, but with Rat Column’s synths, xylophones, and calming tones, the situation does not feel as dire as it could.
Each song is more relaxing than the next, making this the perfect album to put on while the weather warms up and you can spend more time outside. Track “Candle Power II” brings back the electronic drum beats from previous songs, pairing them with a gentle shaker for a mesmerizing and warm instrumental track.
The album closes with “Dream Tonight,” an almost seven-minute-long disco-influenced jam. The groovy track is a dance-ready mix begging for strobe lights and cocktails grasped on a light up floor, soundtracking a Friday night out with friends.
Check out the whole album right here and grab a pre-order from Upset the Rhythm’s website.