Rat Boy

Internationally Unknown

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From the Clash to Rancid and the Transplants, U.K. punk Rat Boy takes his place in this lineage with the help of veteran frontman of the latter two groups, producer Tim Armstrong. On Internationally Unknown, the artist born Jordan Cardy takes huge strides beyond his 2017 debut, capturing a defiant punk essence that is purely visceral and youthful, snotty fun. Cohesive in both sound and method of attack, Internationally Unknown is the result of this perfect pairing of Cardy and childhood influence Armstrong. The chemistry between the master and protege is undeniable -- especially on madcap rollickers "Chip on My Shoulder," "I Wanna Skate," and "Silverlake" -- with Armstrong focusing Cardy's genre-blurring tendencies into a singular vision and Cardy, in turn, reinvigorating Armstrong's late-'90s, early-2000s energy. Mirroring the Transplants more than anything (especially on the punk-meets-hip-hop "Don't Hesitate" and the barroom romp "No Peace No Justice"), Internationally Unknown strips the Brit-pop sheen of Scum -- along with the associated touches of that album's honorable mentor, Damon Albarn -- dumping thumbtacks, sweat, and dirt all over. Trading Albarn for Armstrong was a shrewd move on Cardy's part, and listeners should appreciate the nostalgic and familiar quality found on these dozen tracks, especially on the standout anti-establishment middle finger "So What." Even relatively subdued moments such as the dubby "Night Creature" and the shiny gem "Follow Your Heart" fit with the overall fun-loving, carefree aesthetic. There's no need to search for deeper meanings or enlightenment on Internationally Unknown. Instead, Cardy and Armstrong invite listeners to let go and enjoy the ride, which is an energetic, wild blast.

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