One of the major principles the original punk movement was founded on was taking rock music back to its basic roots, an ideology similar to the one Rattle embrace on their self-titled debut. The Nottingham duo of Theresa Wrigley and Katharine Eira Brown take things a little further though by paring down their music to nothing else other than two voices and a couple of drumkits, pushing and exploring the boundaries of creating art with a deliberately limited set of tools at their disposal.
Whether they tie in as direct influences or not, much like The Slits, ESG, or even Liquid Liquid, Rattle create strange and occasionally funky minimal grooves that reveal themselves to be more complex at times than they initially let on, like on ‘Sorcerer,’ ‘Trainer (Get You),’ and ‘Thunder’ where they lay down otherwise simple drum patterns that overlap and interlock with one another to create otherwise intricate rhythms. Even when the music comes off spartan almost to the point of being translucent in terms of arrangements as on ‘Starting,’ ‘Click,’ and ‘Stringer Bell,’ the music still winds up being weirdly hypnotic. On ‘Boom’ and ‘True Picture’ meanwhile, they use their off-kilter harmonies as a means of filling in the gaps that a bass or guitar would normally fill.
Considering how minimal and unconventional it can be, ‘Rattle’ makes for a fun and surprisingly accessible listen. That the band avoided the kind of arty pretension that most other bands in their position might normally fall into is a credit to the purity of their intentions. It isn’t art for art’s sake but a celebration of the creative spirit. Creating music as diverse and rich sounding as this with such a minimal approach isn’t a simple thing to do and it’s to their credit that Rattle have succeeded in doing just that.
This Rattle article was written by Jeremy Monroe, a GIGsoup contributor. Band photos by Simon Parfrement