Review Summary: Sticky? More like Stinky, amiright?
It’s hard to believe Sticky
comes from the same guy who fronted seminal hardcore classics Orchestra of Wolves
and Grey Britain
, as well as the Rattlesnakes’ ferocious debut album, Blossom
and, to a slightly lesser extent, their excellent follow-up, Modern Ruin
. In fact, it’s pretty darn depressing when you sit back and think about how far the Rattlesnakes project has declined in quality in just six years. Of course, I called out Frank’s perfidious gambit as far back as Modern Ruin
’s release. Despite being incredibly proficient at making albums with a particular flare and inimitable broiling rage – one that inarguably draws people to his projects in the first place – his heart just hasn’t been into that style since, arguably, Grey Britain
: the album that made him turn his back on the festering hardcore he’s known for, in favour of the short-lived vanilla rock project, Pure Love. But that’s a story you can read in my previous Rattlesnakes reviews. All I’ll say here is that in hindsight, Blossom
’s hardcore-tinged comportment was merely bait used to cause waves, turn heads, and get old fans flocking to his new project; because the fact of the matter is, if Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes had started out with Sticky
, the band would be sitting in the gutter along with this album.
So, what exactly is Sticky
? Well, essentially it boils down to Frank and Dean doubling down on the soporific and lifeless elemental style of End of Suffering
, only now it has flat seventies-styled punk riffs coupled with some of the cringiest lyrics and vocal performances of Frank’s career. If you thought the duo had learned a thing or two since their middling third record – hoping to see them steer course and deliver something with the bare necessities of what a Rattlesnakes album should have – you’re going to be bitterly disappointed here. Indeed, Sticky
is cut from the same cloth as End of Suffering
, the distinction, however, is made apparent by the superfluous synth and goofy, arbitrary aesthetics. It’s like a cross between Sex Pistols and Electric Six. Actually, maybe the combination is a shade hyperbolic, but it’s hard to really gauge what they were going for here. There’s a lot going on but none of it gels well together. Tracks are riddled in weird samples, inane backing vocals and guest spots, and there’s a strange incoherence present throughout the entire record.
I don’t take this stuff lightly either. Blossom
is a near masterpiece that balances his former years with Gallows and this new infectious pop style of writing; similarly, Modern Ruin
hits the sweet spot with his Pure Love vision, whilst being self-aware enough to maintain Rattlesnakes’ abrasive side, thereby giving out just the right amount of thrust from those two things. Hell, even End of Suffering
had the odd moment. Sticky
on the other hand sounds like a mess, in all honesty. It lacks the attention span to make solid compositions and having them feel worthwhile. Even at 28 minutes, this album dragged like hell, and bar maybe “Cupid’s Arrow” for showing a modicum of coherence, the record is completely forgettable, which is ironic when you consider how much stuff was thrown into the songs. Sticky
is the very definition of throwing sh*t at the wall and seeing what sticks. Unfortunately for this album, nothing does, and all you’re left with is the horrible odour from its experimentation.