The Rats On Run inbox is beautifully skewed to the left of the margins of music. There be oddballs and screwballs and wierdos and ravers, and all kinds of strangeness between. As I sift through submissions, vibrations and visions, some dig in like a tic and sit pretty… like Lyon based TiSiPhone, and their newest release that plays reckless with coldwave and post punk.
There’s a late 80s coldness and a DIY grunge that soaks each note and creak of the album. From the ugly beginnings of ‘Heureux Je Suis’, with its clatter and chants against snags of guitar, we move outward to obscure and minimalist indie, we snap back into late Nico nu-wave. As ‘Nasty Kids’ follows with its intimate start that’s as free from convention as Young Marble Giants, all punk’s rules are stripped back to their innards. We float through on barely pressed analogue synths as pulses and shivers coat closely lit vocals, we skim by on bare wire and rust. Towards the end there’s a sprawl of unstructured release with the rawness of pre-2010 Coathangers. Throw into the mix something close to Dry Cleaners and we’re giddy in all of punk’s offshoots.
The proto-spike jangle of ‘Atomic Tissue’ spins an awkward and angular twist. It’s addictive as it is abrasive, matched only by ‘Exil’ in its brash disregard for tunefulness, structure or easy-please kicks. As if the free-wheel career through these sounds weren’t enough, we regularly switch between English and French, between singers and bluntness of vocals. She has a sweetness that’s flat, calm and anxious and he has his agro-tinged hard talk.
It’s this chaos and candour that shines through ‘Koma Forta’, it’s that freedom that dug this tic in. There may be occasions where play gets misguided (I’m looking at ‘Exil’s flirtation with autotune), but no upset goes by unforgiven.
From these tracks we stride out in to wide open space, into restraint and inky-slick synthwave. ‘Bully’ comes in as lovely as it was unexpected with a glow that runs agile and easy. Once again it’s the breadth of the jumble of sounds and the want to explore that impresses; we’re sat on the ringside of shoegaze and dreampop with a clean shine of angst pressing through.
We remain in this soft light and ambient sheen until ‘Rageux’ bleeds in with looped staccato strings before blasting out wrought-iron electro. Never once in this album did I predict direction and for that, if no more, it’s a pleasure.