Rat Trap are still at high school. Not that you’d know it. Sure, young bands can have a tendency to throw all their influences in to one big pot and hope that something good turns up but in the case of these Californian students, they prove to be skilful rather than lucky.
On first impressions, Belle and Sebastian are the most obvious influences. One only has to listen to the fey vocals and folk guitars of ‘Songbirds’ to ascertain that but ‘The Western Boundary’ has a surprising amount of depth too. It’s the kind of album where even the most traditional songs such as ‘The Old Man And His Playing Cards’ – a track dominated by the mandolin – seems to be blessed with a modern edge whilst ‘Insomnia’ looks back rather than forward with verses that share the melody of The Kinks’ ‘Lola’. There’s also doleful, indie rock courtesy of ‘Animals’, ‘Polluted’ is as heroically off-key and angular as a Pavement record and is that a grunge reference on ‘How The Planes Flew Overhead’?.
Even though they describe themselves as an indie folk band, there’s so much more to Rat Trap than we may initially give them credit for. Infact, the further they stretch away from the modish folk surroundings, the more exciting they become.
Belle And Sebastian, Pavement, Lloyd Cole And The Commotions