Album Review

HEALTH - RAT WARS

An album that can wash past with as much staying power as candyfloss in a puddle.

HEALTH - RAT WARS

Since their last full length album, we’ve had two editions of their collaborative ‘DISCO…’ series with co-conspirators as varied as 100 gecs, JPEGMAFIA and Poppy, but now HEALTH are back standing on their own two feet with ‘RAT WARS’, their fifth canonical album. Opener ‘DEMIGODS’ sets a template of crunching guitars clashing with driving dancefloor beats and ethereal verses that sticks through most of the album. Their formula is tastefully broken up by frantic drums on ‘CRACK METAL’, unsettling synths on ‘HATEFUL’ and the twisted pop of ‘ASHAMED’ that soars with the most memorable chorus on the record. Unfortunately, that chorus is an outlier on an album that can wash past with as much staying power as candyfloss in a puddle. Jake Duzsik’s elfin vocals dissect the murk but rarely catch the ear and the oppressive world HEALTH meticulously conjure is fizzled by closer ‘DON’T TRY’, a superfluous ballad that conjures all the emotion of a P45. ‘RAT WARS’ is at its best when collaborators are brought back into the fold. Lamb of God’s Willie Adler contributes a trademark metalcore riff on ‘CHILDREN OF SORROW’ before chugging through a section reminiscent of ‘FEEL NOTHING’. ‘SICKO’ quickly follows and samples the “You breed / Like rats” refrain that opens Godflesh’s ‘Streetcleaner’. These features are reminders of HEALTH at their vibrant and varied best, something that ‘RAT WARS’ fails to consistently capture.

Tags: Health, Reviews, Album Reviews

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