Rodent Emporium is an alternative punk band from Scotland that often uses comedy or parodies as a way of making light of cultural excesses and those with too much self importance. Their pop punk could be the result of Half Man Half Biscuit having a night out with Weird Al Yankovic. The band formed in 2005 and released their debut ‘Music Without Fear Of Reprimand’ in 2008 and followed it up with ‘Sports’ (2009) and ‘Kigo’ (2011). Besides performing on their home turf in Edinburgh and Glasgow, they have also made several appearances at the Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois.
Whereas ‘Sports’ had a slick style, they have kicked back into a raw high-energy punk in ‘Let’s Go Mental’ led by Stuart Gilmour, a man who sounds like he has just drunk twelve redbulls in a row. Then there is the frantic ‘Japanese Girl’.
The album really takes off with its seasonal themed batch of songs, starting with ‘It’s Spring’ and its chorus of “There are four seasons where we come from, or so they try to tell us/ spring and summer, autumn and winter / the problem is they feel the same /We’ve got summer, is the first time that I kissed a woman / We’ve got autumn, is when I sleep on the leaves / We’ve got winter, is when I remember the summer / Currently it’s spring”.
There is a feelgood attitude and jangly guitar in’Summer Sun’ before it builds to a crescendo and rocks out. ‘An Autumnal Nightmare’ rumbles ominously “The autumn leaves are coming through and the summer’s dying off / the fog is getting thicker / and the sweat is dripping off, it’s the summer’s dying breath” as it draws you into their fevered imagination. This contains stolid drumming, thundering bass, guitar hooks and feedback to paint the sonic picture of decay.
They uplifting tunes in ‘Ring The Bells’ can take you by surprise as this cheery Christmas song contains some darkly tongue-in-cheek lyrics that sees Santa as a cruel dictator using the slave labour of elves. It always brings a smile to my face. They close off with a tortured rap as the band wig out.
Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby
Let’s Go Mental
An Autumnal Nightmare
Ring The Bells
Stuart Gilmour (lead vocals)
Graeme Watt (guitar & vocals)
Allan Forsyth (bas & vocals)
Ricki Thomson (drums)
Owen Innes (drums & vocals)
Barry Topping (bass, vocals, guitar & Hammond organ)