Album Reviews

Years: Rats

The Oakland underground supergroup serve up their debut LP.

Anything involving members of Enablers is something that does a bit more than just pique the interest. It’s a celebration.

Over the years, whilst each member has been involved in a plethora of other projects, 2022 sees yet another exciting collective unfurl from the climes of San Francisco / Oakland.

Years are vocalist/guitarist, Kyle Ranson (Strawberry Smog, Pale Hoarse), guitarist, lap steel, Kevin Thomson (Enablers, Hazel Atlas, Strawberry Smog) and percussionist, Dan Nelson (Larry Yes, Strawberry Smog, Top Brown).

Joining them throughout their debut album long-player, Rats, is vocalist Christine Shields, who adds radiant inflections to these songs. So too Enablers alumni, Joe Goldring – who injects the right dose of venom from behind the soundboards, as well as lending a hand on bass throughout Rats.

Enablers Interview: “There’s a lot of conflict in our songs on every level”

Rats is one of those records that everyone needs in their collection. When you’re struggling to find the right vibe and things don’t quite hit the way they should, there are circuit-breaker albums, and that’s where Years come in. A band tailored for all moods and concerns.

Years - Rats

Kicking off Rats is Burden, a song that was probably written on the front porch as a sing-along to the sun slowly disappearing behind the mountains.

With the sun down and lights on, this is where Water Colour Painting thrives. With bourgeoning dark shades fit for a haunted house, the melody shared between Ranson and Shields confirms this as one of the year’s finest earworms to date; it’s just about the finest moment Years serve up on Rats, followed by the feral harmonics and fleeting percussion of I Wanna Dissolve and Why’d You Come.

BUÑUEL: Killers Like Us

With the backdrop of a smoke-filled bar on a Friday night, the bluesy What Happened to Duck Boy? is bathed in contemplative nostalgia. Meanwhile, the woozy Green Winter and rich echoes of Golden Hook shower that very smoke-riddled bar with tones that remedy the guy sitting alone after last orders contaminating his glass of whisky with tears.

That same guy probably finds solace in Nightmare Hare – a sweaty, paranoid downer lament. The kind of song where you can almost smell the campfire smoke.

With Rats you can hear and almost feel the organic chemistry between each band member. A group of veterans who have been there and done it, this is pure harmony and fun committed to tape. A group of friends gathered around the campfire to create the beautiful noise. It’s the way music should be.

Rats is out now. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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