FROM BUST TO BOOM IN THE YEAR OF THE RAT
On the Boomtown Rats’ first new album in over 30 years, neither age nor downsizing to a quartet have brought a noticeable drop in quality. Their continuing potency is clear from the get-go: the first track out of the (rat) traps is ‘Trash Glam, Baby’, an instant inner-city throwback to the band’s early days, full of noise, gritty Saturday night imagery, and a memorable melody. ‘Sweet Thing’ starts like a nod towards The
Troggs’ ‘Wild Thing’, then hints at ‘Rat Trap’ as it goes helter-skeltering on its merry way. ‘She Said No’ is an infectiously raucous R&B number, and ‘Monster Monkeys’ is The Doors’ ‘Break On Through’ filtered through Alabama 3.
The rattlingly-upbeat ‘K.I.S.S.’ could make lots of us look good on the dancefloor, while the mischievous ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Yé Yé’ is a fistsaloft terrace anthem. The fiery, eponymouslytitled finale will spark discussions about bands naming tracks in their own honour, but it is a belter.
Citizens Of Boomtown is no casual attempt to reprise past glories: rather, it blends familiar touches with a modern sensibility, without over-cooking it. As you’d expect, there’s lots of shouting and pointing – but there’s still piles of punky energy, plus infectious tunes. When you throw in the new RTÉ two-part special on the band’s legacy – also titled Citizens Of Boomtown – it would appear that the Rat-aissance is in full flow.
And while their signature tracks are perhaps less ubiquitous these days than other ’70s hits, \ould put the Banana Republicans definitively back in play. OUT MARCH 13 · JACKIE HAYDEN