The Best Record You’ve Never Heard: Ratboys recommend a little-known masterpiece by The Deals

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The guttural rumble of Ratboys is a force to behold. Their live shows roar with a fun intensity that would even leave The Rock’s hair standing on end should he ever attend one of their concerts. Their latest album, The Window, provides the perfect vehicle for such reverie. The 2023 record is a wild release, hitting the eardrums in a manner akin to a mouthful of ice-cold water after eating a few Extra Strong mints.

However, there is also a sense of reflection and depth – highlighting the need for moments of catharsis rather than merely providing one. On this front, The Deals have always been a firm source of inspiration. So, ahead of their latest run of shows, we caught up with Ratboys, and they told us about a record that means a great deal to them, which you might never have heard before.

“One of the best parts of living in Chicago, IL is the absurd abundance of great bands doing their thing all over the city at any given moment,” they told us. “There’s so much music to take in. It can feel a bit dizzying at times, but in a good way, like going to Six Flags and figuring out which roller coaster to go on first.” Six Flags, of course, is the American city’s fabled amusement park.

“There’s a band in town called The Deals that’s simultaneously holding it down and taking you on a trip, just like any good thrill ride ought to,” Ratboys continue. Before highlighting a kinship detectable in their own sound: “They have a super strong sense of melody, which drives the songs and fits right in with all different types of instrumentation and musical leanings, from power pop to shoegaze to whatever they want to do next.”

They conclude: “Every live show they play is worth seeing, especially for the sick harmonised vocals and guitar leads. They even have a song about fried bologna, which, like the food, is truly undeniable. The Deals are the kind of ride I wanna go on over and over again, and I have a feeling that anyone who gives their tunes a listen will feel the same and get ready to hop right back in line with me.”

According to the band, the record where they convert this best is Clear and Severe. The 2021 record is The Deals’ only full-length release to date, but it is resplendent with an assured and individualistic sound honed over years of playing the Chicago circuit. The frenetic power-pop pushes catchiness to the adrenalised extreme. The eight songs might come in at only 20 minutes, implying punk brutality, but the synths and singalong choruses convey that this is less of a thrash and more of a Blondie-esque ball.

The album might not have received the plaudits it deserved, but as Ratboys explain, it has certainly had plenty of organic influence on their local scene. That’s a scene you catch in concert as soon as the Ratboys hit the road once more.

Ratboys tour dates:

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