The Ratchets – First Light LP (Pirates Press)

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Writing record reviews is never easy – and nor should it be! Sadly all too often the pen is mightier than the guitar, and the fruits of a band’s labour can easily be chopped down with a few lazy words. Fortunately in the case of The Ratchets, putting pen to paper becomes a pleasure each time they bring a new baby to life. As it happens, that really doesn’t happen often, as well over ten years have passed since their last full length. The Ratchets are a living embodiment of punk rock protest songs, as they hit you with their words of both desperation and hope in equal measures. The big inspiration has to be The Clash but along the way you can hear touches of artists as varied as The Gaslight Anthem, Newtown Neurotics or even Bruce Springsteen. A cover of Tom Robinson Band’s 2-4-6-8 Motorway fits right in as they make this song their own without veering too far from the original. I think in particular the raspy vocals nod to the bands mentioned above. This isn’t a polished pop-punk production but a record with heart and soul – viva le Ratchets! Tom Chapman

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