The Ratchets

Heart of Town

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With a name like the Ratchets and a record label called Hell Bent, it shouldn't be completely surprising that Heart of Town specializes in fairly straightforward rock. The band approaches its back-to-the-basics approach by keeping things simple. The quartet, with guitarist/vocalist Jed Engine, guitarist/vocalist Zak Kaplan, bassist Dan Desimoni, and drummer Marc Ziccardi, skips the frills for simple songs that rock hard. Listening to the title track, or just about any track on this EP, reminds one of how bands at various times have stripped away all the extras (synthesizers, studio trickery, etc.) for a more visceral effect, one-half step removed from the live experience. Remember when songs like "Johnny Too Bad" began with a blaze of drums and stinging guitar work? The Ratchets, interestingly, add a touch of reggae here and there (notably so on "No Reason"), successfully merging it with the band's harder guitar sound. The only downside one might note is that two of these songs (the title track and "77A Broadway") -- one at almost five minutes, the other at four -- are too long (and eventually monotonous) for straightforward rock. This is a small complaint in the span of things, however. The Ratchets have put together an energetic EP that will remind one of rock before "alternative" was added to it.

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