Words by Ryan Kappy
When you enter the seaside city of Asbury Park, NJ, you are welcomed with not just the sandy beaches or famous boardwalk, but a place that has a rich history of music with artists and live music venues that have encapsulated decades of different music timelines. For members of Bad Religion, The Bouncing Souls, and Lifetime, it was no brainer in 2018 for them to plug in and play to form the punk rock “supergroup” Beach Rats with their homebase being Asbury Park. After releasing the EP Wasted Time in 2018, the pandemic struck the world, yet the band wasted no time to explore and create music based on their 80’s punk influences they revered throughout their respective careers. What the five-piece has unleashed is an precedented power house of old school hardcore punk, yet a modern take of the genre on their debut full length record Rat Beat.
The record opener “Bikes Out!” places the ball on the tee to enjoy the ride of the blistering effort, while “Dress for Sick Sesh” ensures that we are ready for the more melodic yet rapid tracks that will subsequently come. “Heavy Conversation” and title track “Rat Beat” have a heavy influence from guitarist Brian Baker’s contemporary Bad Religion, in which they switch off before fast paced verses and slow-driven choruses. “Clorox Boyz” acts as the experimental and more calmer track with different guitar arpeggios ringing throughout with vocalist Ari Katz questioning himself saying “I should have known better” throughout the track. On the other hand, “Wordz” solidifies that knowing better is not the best, and to “open up your mouth” as “words they just fall out.”
With this debut full length from the pioneering members involved, the outfit clearly shows that there was no pressure in making this record. With “Saturday” and “Beach Talk,” the lyrical content has some meaning showcasing the members’ daily lives of living in a beach town, whether it is misplacing a record or having constant conversation with your friends. The group clearly wanted to take a look back on their careers while embracing their love for gritty punk rock, and they truly capture that sound and open the doors for listeners to find those influences as well.
TheWaster.com | Asbury Park