Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes
Dark Rainbow


3.7
great

Review

by Simon K. STAFF
January 26th, 2024 | 8 replies


Release Date: 01/26/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Happier days

After the Rattlesnakes’ egregious misfire in 2021, it was safe to say the band had burnt away any goodwill I had left for them. What started out as a ferocious, hard-hitting rock band with hefty servings of hardcore and a dash of pop had come to an illogically comical conclusion by the time Sticky had arrived. Sure, End of Suffering was a soporific rock album that lacked the immediate elements of previous works, but for all of its flaws, it had the decency to carry over the distinct atmosphere of Modern Ruin, and it at least sounded like a Rattlesnakes record. Sticky on the other hand was a deranged, unmitigated disaster on almost every level. It’s a record that tries to capture a rebellious youthfulness, comporting this devil may care attitude with the help of the record’s musical style (which is essentially boilerplate 70’s punk), but the problem is the execution was horribly miscalculated – with Frank delivering these eccentric performances and using lazy, repetitious hooks as the main draw. In short, the record was a staggering trainwreck from start to finish, but the despondent feeling I felt after it was far worse; I couldn’t help but think that just six years prior, the band showed so much potential, and here they were turning themselves into a caricature.

For Dark Rainbow the writing is on the wall – whether Frank and Dean capitulated and realised their fourth album was, ironically, their own modern ruin, I obviously cannot confirm or deny, but when you put their body of work in a lineup, Sticky stands out like a sore thumb. As such, Dark Rainbow feels like a self-aware course correct, and a natural continuation from End of Suffering. This of course brings its own caveats, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Dark Rainbow reattains one of the band’s strongest attributes, which is atmosphere. Like End of Suffering, the songs here feel like they have this cumbersome, emotional weight pressing down on them – a lethargic, painful exertion at times. The difference between the two is that the execution in their repose is far more effective here, given the quality of the tracks, and the instruments they utilise. Frank’s solid performances also play a key role in bringing these songs to life, but the music takes on a much more ambitious undertaking. Firstly, the band’s transitional period is over: Dark Rainbow omits their abrasive sensibilities entirely. Instead of harsh screams and hardcore punk riffs, you’re getting a much more calculated, reflective, and serene version of the band; a Rattlesnakes that seems to relish in sitting back and contemplating their next steps, rather than diving in headfirst. The delicate balance and use of guitars, piano and synth are considered thoroughly, giving the listener a breadth of sounds to journey through. The influences are plain to see, mind, with a distracting reverence for latter day Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age, but for the most part the Rattlesnakes do a good job of retaining their own identity while lending other bands’ signature styles.

Sashaying, fuzzed-out rock grooves, retro-esque synths, dour ballads, and a creeping psychedelic undercurrent is the main order of the day, and while the guitar aspect of the record certainly has the most derivative aspects, it’s all pulled off pretty well. However, the album really finds its strides towards the back end of the record – particularly excelling when it gets to the crushingly downcast “Queen of Hearts” and the epic stadium rock banger “Superstar”, both of which make Dark Rainbow come into its own. Indeed, it’s in the last handful of songs where Frank and Dean conjoin their proclivities for dark, lethargic ballads with choked-out-fuzz riffs and multi-layered electronic and synth passages. “Brambles” is incredibly infectious and bursting with atmosphere, while “Queen of Hearts” stands as one of my favourite Rattlesnakes tunes hitherto, with its post-rock-esque mood and agonising performance from Frank. Conversely, the more energetic numbers here are executed with the same level of effect. Great melodies, hooky choruses and groovy verses aside, the mid-section of “Self Love” has a very memorable noodle-y electronic section that distinguishes itself from previous songs in the band’s canon, while “Superstar” fits more in line with a Modern Ruin era tune, with its poignant, melodious choruses and driving verses. Finally, “Sun Bright Golden Happening” and “A Dark Rainbow” are very sombre, delicate pieces but they genuinely highlight Carter’s steadfast performance throughout all of this album.

In conclusion, I’m pretty struck by how good this turned out. Admittedly, my expectations for this couldn’t have been lower, but this is easily the best Rattlesnakes album since Modern Ruin. It has all of the ideas End of Suffering failed to deliver on, but unlike that album, Dark Rainbow doesn’t meander or deflate; the songwriting here is very consistent, engaging, and is packed with dense, multi-layered instrumentation. I think if there were any criticisms to be had, it’s that the album takes a little while finding its rhythm. “Honey” and “American Spirit” are guilty of the most distracting QOTSA/Arctic Monkeys elements, but even with that out of the equation, the tracks themselves are pretty forgettable. Still, to go from Sticky to this could cause whiplash for some fans. Dark Rainbow is the sound they’ve been chasing for five years now, and while it’s not perfect, and lacks the raw edge their earlier works were so good at, it’s definitely a sound I can get onboard with.



Recent reviews by this author
Rotting Christ Pro XristouShellac To All Trains
Jurre Timmer FragmentedThe Night Watch An Embarrassment of Riches
Justice HyperdramaSessanta E.P.P.P.
user ratings (19)
2.8
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
MMX
January 26th 2024


5020 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not bad

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2024


32047 Comments


I really like this guy's voice but I hate his haircut, so I'm conflicted Doc.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2024


18318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Valid predicament dewi

Asura14
January 29th 2024


526 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Since Modern Ruin these buys have done nothing but disappoint, will still give this a listen tho

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2024


18318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

can't agree more asura, but this is definitely a step up from the last two

Asura14
January 29th 2024


526 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

After two listens it definitely feels better than the last 2, opener + Brambles onwards is all solid, Queen of Hearts and SBGH are definitely unexpected highlights.





"Dark Rainbow is the sound they’ve been chasing for five years now" I think so too, even thought I'd prefer a return to the edgier, more riff oriented and I think catchier sound they accomplished in Modern Ruin

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2024


18318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

yeah, it's not exactly a sound i want them to pursue, i want them to make stuff more in line with blossom, but they mostly nailed the sound here.



with dark rainbow existing, it just makes sticky that much more of a bizarre release. to go from making an album centred on moody ballads, to then release a trash, badly executed 70s punk album only to do a 180 to refine the end of suffering's sound is so strange to me lol

Cormano
January 31st 2024


4136 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this is terrible



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy