A fine record, bristling with vigour, wit and intent. Funnily enough this record has a feeling of being made by a Belgian or Dutch band, one normally championed by this magazine too: screamo or garage pop acts such as Moi Non Plus, de Nieuwe Vrolijkheid and Believo!. And now an English act re-moulds the template once again from a different angle.
Not Cool are more direct in their attack than most of their continental cousins. There’s none of the indifference or existentialism you’d expect from the Dutch or Belgians, and the aptly named Rugged Raw shows this in fine style with tracks like Retired to Stud, Perfect Hair Forever and Dead Kid City: songs which are propelled by some fuzzy growly guitar, gambolling drum fills and plaintive, slightly demented wails and shouts from the vocals. The music has a heady, giddy element to it, and when things get more reflective (Can’t Take You Anywhere) there’s always a stomping beat, or merciless guitar break to offset any sentiment.
It’s a good fun record to listen to, which has been a rare thing recently. Not much (apart from the epic last track Gold People’s Home) runs over the three minute mark. All the tracks are left for dead by that last number though, which perversely enough starts off as the most maudlin-sounding track on the album. The tempo soon picks up though and the listener is treated to an all-out blitz which disappears into space-rock territory. It’s a tremendous finale.
So, overall, pretty darned good and maybe the work of a band with a lot more to offer.