"Ratsickles" C33
(Sivilised Recordings)

I’d be a real lying son-of-a-beast here if I said that Onus’s “Ratsickles” was a “must hear” for the general rock populace. Whilst melodically SOLID, they’re probably too stoic in their presentation to command the average, passing listener’s attention. Their powerhouse is in a concertedly shamanistic patience, their lock-step-rhythmic chanting, a sincere, open-ear’d ceremonial bliss. I won’t even talk about the stop-on-a-dime timing!

When it comes down to it, Onus are an undeniably Serious. Itch. Scratcher. This three piece is an outright Drool-Worthy outfit to watch out for, especially for all lovers of Lungfish’s ritualistic grooves, Seam’s lush indie-guitar wizardry of the flat-pick’d riff, and, OH!!! that fucking brilliant mid-low tone from Sonic Youth’s most (imnho) tonally beatific masterpiece “Murray Street”! No, it’s not made for everyone, but (made for) quantity ain’t (made for) quality, either, now is it?!

Comprised of drums, bass, and baritone guitar, each instrument carries its own rock-solid, independent weight whilst a slew of layered, disciplined baritone vocals drag our minds into and out of lock-step, angular grooves, replacing them (and us) within/out abstract lyrical positions. Strum-free, the (baritone) guitar lines are occasionally looped over and accented with timbre’ly -potent pedal’d-textures…and I realllly hope I get to see these folx play the west coast sometime soon, to see if they use a loop pedal and THEN explore overtop it, live, or do they just hire another touring musician? Do they all sing at the same time, or is it just one singer’s multiple takes in the recording? Or is it all just one person creating these rhythmic mantras in their garage studio? I’d love to hear the outtakes and demos, too!

When you’re sick of party melodies and want some lyrical jams to seaweed sway to, give this half-hour palette-wetter a few repeats and you’ll probably fall in love like I did. More please!


-- Jacob An Kittenplan