Whether through his singles, or his band’s ever-more-infamous live presence, we’ve come to know Jordan Cardy as somewhat of a scamp; Essex’s answer to Jamie T, a rogue who might be loveable if he’d only sit still for five minutes. And yes, there’s much on ‘Scum’ to support this view of Rat Boy: ‘Kicked Outta School’, ‘Sportswear’ and ‘Everyday’ echo his early singles’ tales of suburban hopelessness perfectly.
But on this debut, Jordan and pals aren’t afraid to contrast bravado with vulnerability, and it’s in the unexpected that their debut shines brightest. The Graham Coxon-featuring ‘Laidback’ is adorably sweet, while Mallory Merk’s velvety guest vocals on duet ‘Sad Sad’ make the track impossibly tender. At least for someone who’s riding a Burberry-branded scooter on the sleeve, anyway (if you’re old enough to remember the last checked-cap trend, think The Streets’ ‘Dry Your Eyes’).
And, as the collection is held together by tongue-in-cheek interludes voiced by Grand Theft Auto voice Lloyd Floyd - there’s even space for a politically timely anti-Trump skit - there’s a pervading sense that Rat Boy’s a whole a lot smarter than he’s ever allowed himself to be shown as.