Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Sticky (Album Review)

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Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes burst onto the English punk rock scene in 2015 with debut album “Blossoms,” headed by the energetic and confrontational front-man Frank Carter. Although Carter had certainly acquired an impressive resume after stints in both Gallows and Pure Love, this eponymous creation was lit by the same fierce punk spark that had fueled generations of musicians before him. Known best for tearing up the stage with dynamic live performances, there is little question that Carter has played a significant role in feeding the insatiable punk and hardcore scene in the U.K. A streak of restlessness and commitment to high quality outputs has allowed The Rattlesnakes to climb the ranks with impressive fortitude, putting out three albums in six years while doggedly bumping up their chart placements. This consistent quality soon gave way to reputation, and the band has since amassed tens of millions of streams along with a rabidly dedicated fanbase. 

Somewhere from within the punk-tinged static of sex, tattoos, and chaos emerges “Sticky,” the band’s fourth album to date. It follows just two years after 2019’s “End of Suffering,” which peaked at #4 on the U.K. charts and impressed fans with instant anthems like “Crowbar” and “Kitty Sucker.” This latest opus remains strongly in the vein of their established style, which blends together molten strands of punk, hardcore, and rock. This classic combination is further offset by inspirations drawn from both pop and electronic music. The end result is a frenetic album packed to the brim with rip-roaring fun, while the creative duo of Carter and Dean Richardson provide the catalyst of all-around talent. “Sticky” has the best of both musicianship and sonic delight, capturing the delightful compositional skills of talented songwriters while still producing explosive, infectious singles. There is depth to the dynamic “Take It To the Brink,” and mastery over transition in the highly varied “My Town.” The album also features multiple guest artists, each of whom are integrated seamlessly into The Rattlesnake’s signature fire so as to enhance its burn. Each musician, both band members and guests alike, are given a true chance to shine as each track runs its course.  

Opening track “Sticky” puts listeners under its spell, ensnaring with irresistible hooks and a heavy dose of emotion on all fronts. From unbridled rage to the fleeting ecstasy of warm summer nights, “Sticky” will have its audience headbanging, if not shouting along at the top of their lungs. “Bang Bang” embodies this pop-tainted, radio-ready style of songwriting, crafting an anthemic chorus that is packed on either side with relentless guitars and balanced distortion. Carter’s voice carries its strongest edge here, cutting like razorblades with each repetition of “bang bang!” “Take It To the Brink” has a similarly enticing sonic premise, but adds spice as its verses are peppered with manic chuckling and the acerbic chant of “kill me, kill me, kill me.” A spectacular bass presence on “Go Get A Tattoo” is yet another standout moment of pure musicality, blending seamlessly from the punchy “My Town” (featuring Joe Talbot). 

“Sticky” Album Artwork

Off With His Head” (featuring rock singer Cassyette) highlights all of the album’s strengths in an emotionally evocative masterpiece. Cassyette and Carter’s voices mingle effortlessly, providing two separate pitches to an ice-cold refrain and grooving percussion. This black-and-white display is absolutely electrifying, showing off the height of Carter’s range and the sheer intensity The Rattlesnakes bring to the table. Sinister strains of “Cobra Queen” serve as the perfect follow-up to mellow the pace, slowing the tempo ever so slightly with its darkness. It also gives a more serious and thoughtful edge to the album when contrasted against songs like the playful “Go Get A Tattoo,” offering up further proof of the band’s seemingly limitless versatility. 

Jazz-infused touches to “Rat Race” and “Original Sin” are just two among many examples of serious dimension in songwriting. The sheer depth which masquerades as catchy punk is a testament to talent and creative passion, as well as the pursuit of true originality. The Rattlesnakes may at first appear to be just another spotlight-soaked phenomenon, but this care and attention to detail in songwriting truly let “Sticky” stand apart from the fray. True to the genres which have influenced it, “Sticky” is a compact showing of skill, with each of its songs little more than sound bites when standing alone. But magic is made when the album is played in full, as it takes the listener on a simultaneously exhilarating and tumultuous journey through heavy music. As suggested by some of the band’s prior hits, “Sticky” is more than enough proof that Frank Carter knows how to leave someone satisfied, if not wanting more. Fresh and electrifying, this is a must-listen for any punk or hardcore fanatic: nothing less than full volume is acceptable.

Released By:
Release Date: October 15th, 2021
Genre: Punk Rock

Musicians:

  • Frank Carter / vocals
  • Dean Richardson / guitars 
  • Tom “Tank” Barclay / bass
  • Gareth Grover / drums

“Sticky” Track-listing:

  1. Sticky
  2. Cupid’s Arrow
  3. Bang Bang (feat. Lynks)
  4. Take It To The Brink
  5. My Town (feat. Joe Talbot)
  6. Go Get A Tattoo
  7. Off With His Head (feat. Cassyette)
  8. Cobra Queen 
  9. Rat Race
  10. Original Sin (feat. Bobby Gillepsie)

8.9 Excellent

“Sticky” is more than enough proof that Frank Carter knows how to leave someone satisfied, if not wanting more. Fresh and electrifying, this is a must-listen for any punk or hardcore fanatic: nothing less than full volume is acceptable

  • Musicianship 9.5
  • Songwriting 8.5
  • Originality 8.5
  • Production 9
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