I first became aware of Essex’s RAT BOY, AKA Jordan Cardy, when he released his stunning debut, The Mixtape, in early 2014. The Mixtape was the sound of unbridled youth set to danceable samples, indie guitars and lyrical teenage angst. The debut’s moot points were Terry Hall’s sardonic wit, Disco Inferno’s mash-up of samplers/guitars and The Streets’ vision of urban desperation.
As 2014 came to a close, RAT BOY started receiving daytime radio air play, mainstream press and had begun touring extensively. Gigs were raucous and full of frenzied passion, both on and off the stage, and Cardy had whetted the musical appetites of press and fans alike. As 2015 arrived there were many waiting expectedly for what would come next.
Firmly into 2015, RAT BOY has finally finished and released 23 minutes of musical unruliness entitled Neighbourhood Watch, and I for one cannot wait to hear what Cardy has in store this time around.
‘RAT BOY Ain’t No Phoney’ rolls this release off nicely; Cardy utilizes samples that speak of the dangers faced by the young walking the streets, going about their daily business in the UK. Musically the track is a funky little ditty that gets rudely interrupted by an alarm, and bang we are straight into the second track.
‘Knock, Knock, Knock’ flies out of the stalls with drum and bass beats, and brash guitars, and has Cardy lamenting the displeasure of today’s youth – violent, “Young Dumb and living off Mum.” RAT BOY’s use of samples again punctuates his music brilliantly, and adds a dark twisted balance to his more upbeat youthful moments.
Neighbourhood Watch is a mixtape that unleashes Cardy’s modernist punk attitude, that howls eloquently at the world that surrounds him. Any working-class teenager growing up in the UK in 2015 will find solace and familiarity in RAT BOY’s lyrical observations. Older listeners are reminded that despite how great things are when you are young; there is still a wealth of uncertainty that lasts well into adulthood, but music can make things slightly more enjoyable.
This release isn’t your standard 11 tracks that all play and fade nicely into the next. This is the sound of a young mind brimming with ideas, and it is also the sound of a mind that is willing to take risks as there are no musical limits on this release. Cardy has an educated musical mind and isn’t afraid to throw everything into the mixing pot – whether it’s fusing punk, film samples, indie guitars, or dance beats, RAT BOY is still in the proverbial gutter but he is certainly reaching up to the stars.
Some tracks meld into one, others are interrupted when unexpected, and this showcases Cardy’s knack of not taking listeners down any formulaic streets. As soon as I heard this release for the first time, I knew that I had to listen to it again – there’s so much more to pick up on with each new listen, and RAT BOY should receive this highest praise for releasing one of the most impassioned and bold musical releases of 2015 thus far.
Words: Nick Vivid