As soon as a band reveals it’s from Australia, assumptions are made… often fair and obvious but, in the case of Dirty Rats I was struck by how individual they are within the heavy rock framework. Sure there are loads of hefty riffs, guitar solos to air guitar along to and raucous vocals, but this band has ‘been there, done that’ and are now selling the t-shirts. They’ve been around since the 80s in various line-ups but this new four-piece have managed to put together an album of varied and strong rock songs that, to my ear, owe more to bands like Hanoi Rocks, Thin Lizzy and the like than their Antipodean cousins. This latest release, End In Tears is full on and a great listen as the opener ‘The Juice’ shows the creativity that lies behind all of the tracks with a solid riff and vocals. We also get some great titles… ’The Ballad Of Hobbit Foot’ is a classic rock song about eating and drinking laced with humour and a brilliant guitar solo. ‘Hurts Like A Mother’ with its drum/bass/guitar building intro is like the Doors gone mentally heavy. ‘My Life Is A Cliché’ owes a little to the Priest style of rapid rock with humour slathered on. ‘Fantasy’ and ‘Rock Star’ are the closest to that other Australian band but still have that essential humour and individuality behind the classy riffs and solos. ‘Rat Rock’ is a punk infused slice of alcohol-fuelled rock.
All in all then, this is quality heavy rock that makes you sit up and listen to both the words and the music…no room for ballads here, so if you want high octane music with a large dollop of fun, this is certainly worth a listen.