Friday, 4 March 2011

Ratty Little Fingers - Live & EP review

Live at The Zanzibar, Seel St, Liverpool 19th Feb 2011  & The Herald Live venue, Southport, 26th Feb 2011

What can I say? Sometimes, you wander from venue to venue and see all sorts of bands, and feel a little "uninspired".  As a music writer, promoter, musician and recording label type bloke, I get to see LOTS of bands around and about, last year over 100 bands passed through my eyes and ears, and that was just live acts.

You sometimes get a breath of fresh air though, something that really makes you want more, makes your ears prick up and take in the world from a slightly different angle.

Ratty Little Fingers provide that, I was lucky enough to see them on consecutive weekends, they are made up of Katy McGrath, Vocals & Acoustic Guitar, Christian Sandford, Upright Bass, Drums & Austin Ray on Banjo & Violin. 

They are not afraid to play irregular instruments, from the violin, banjo combination to the box for a bass drum, the chocolate tin for a snare and full size double bass.  

Katy provides a very happy feel from the moment she shyly steps up to the mantle, however, she is evocative of what a front person should be, confident in her delivery, stable in her position as the leader of the trio and above all HAPPY to be doing what she clearly loves doing WITHOUT THE ARROGANCE of so many indie bands.

The three of them together, take you on a journey from folk, to pop to country, even dabbling in a bit of rock with Katy pushing her vocals to the edge on a few songs, the acoustic sounds backed up by very credible backing vocals by Austin and Christian make for a superb sound when they are all on the edge.  There are influences from Bare Naked Ladies to Mumford and Sons in some songs, and that goes to show how they can bridge the humour gap in a few songs with the real serious traditional style songs as well.  

Ratty Little Fingers are hoping to play over 100 gigs this year, so there should be ample opportunity to get out to see them, check out their website for more information.


The first thing that grabs you when you pick up this CD is the way its put together, RLF have packaged the CD in such a way as to make you feel all warm inside.  When you read the back it says, "Thank you for purchasing this Ratty Little Pre-P, the profits of which go towards the ratty little petrol fund to get us home safely this evening."  

The packaging is home made and costs a mere £2 to purchase from the band, I love CD's like this, it really shows the band are thinking not only of the costs they incur on the road but also the fact that its about the music on the CD not the fancy covers or colourful packaging that can sometimes overstate a bands potential.

This CD delivers absolutely on the music front.....

Leftovers begins as we mean to go on, acoustic all the way with words that start to provide a story straight away, the song develops and builds along with the story into a mean crescendo towards the end with wonderfully quirky backing vocals. overall a great little song, pushing the genre well and not just run of the mill 3 chords verse chorus style songs.

This is very Dan Mangan influenced, i'm not sure whether the band have ever heard of Dan, but I think they should, they fit in right with the Canadian acoustic music scene, this song brings out the real nice feel of RLF, the wonderful violin rustling through the background creates a top class sound that would not be a miss on more eclectic radio stations around the world.

Again, using hand claps shows how this band are really without worry about how, or what they use to make music, perhaps not as strong as the first 2 songs, but it really puts a country feel across whilst not losing the folk feel along the way.

Overall: Three songs for £2 is like all your Christmas's have come at once, what a treat, get onto for more information on this great band.

A Full EP is due out later in the year.


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