Rotten Mind – Rat City Dog Boy (Lövely Records)

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The city can be a deceiving place. Sure, there’s the tourist traps, but underneath the surface lies a grubby exterior. This is where the real action is; where it’s every man and woman for themselves. Folk struggle to survive as the more affluent sectors prosper. Rotten Mind firmly live outside of society, in the spit and sawdust bars of Sweden; where the rehearsal room is called home. Having three albums under their belt, on Rat City Dog Boy, their fourth, if you thought that urgency had been left to the band’s formative years, then think again.

Rotten Mind are a band that merge many a musical genre. One minute it’s The Hives in a post-punk blender on City Rats, and next it’s ‘77 punk dipping its toes into new wave with Burn for You. One thing that remains consistent is the 4/4 drumbeat which powers the album with little percussion diversion. Beat of the Street is a stand-out track amongst the angsty rock ‘n’ roll and it’s a juggernaut which hurtles like The Parkinsons on their more sober days.

For all the garage rock stylings on Tame Me and Negative Space, it’s another genre that’s been chucked into the Rotten Mind melting pot, and this time it’s gothic. On paper, that may read as a step too far, but rest assured, it isn’t. In some respects, this is where the band shine. You’ll Never See Me Again and Fyrisån sound, in terms of the fretwork, like a beefed-up off-cut from The Cure’s songbook. I’ve Got No Time isn’t as scary as their fellow countrymen and label mates The Dahmers, but it surely adds to the scummy city life portrait.

Penultimate album track Not One of You sports a driving Peter Hook bassline and it plants an image in your head of Ian Curtis dancing manically. The LP closes with acoustic reverb overload in the shape of And Now It’s All Gone, and imagery now shifts to Joe Meek recording artists in his bathroom.

Rotten Mind have already graced the pages of the (now defunct) NME and their appeal will be lapped up by punkers who dig their contemporaries in Crusades and Metz. In my addled brain, the Swedish four piece have the skills to push on with the post-punk likes of Idles, Fontaines D.C. and The Murder Capital. With so many genre bases covered, Rotten Mind have the potential for mass appeal to a diverse fanbase. Let’s just say that Rotten Mind more than deserve your attention and I urge you to get on board… pronto. Ginge Knievil

Rat City Dog Boy is released on 7th February 2020 via Lövely Records.

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