Rat Wakes Red is in a constant state of mourning and wonder. The LP "Acres" would suggest a prolonged elegy to the dead and awakening. It is a spectacle of simple sounds: piano, acoustic guitar, synths, organ, strings, woodwinds, drums, tin whistle and many, many voices. James Raftery sings, plays, plucks and blows. Jeral Benjamin returns to produce and provide violas while woodwind stars chime in to emboss the layered lather. Matt Raftery adds the needed kick from his drums while Hannah Fury lends her voice to “Always”. The ensuing song service is sung from the heavens inside, like an internal choir and orchestra. It comes from loss, change, death, and new beginnings. A slow burn of sad, beautiful dark nights of the soul.
“Acoustic folk guitar and viola, with a whispery, troubled voice? Yes please! Rat Wakes Red is a strange moniker for such an exquisite murmur…”, so wrote Jack Rabid in The Big Takeover upon hearing Rat Wakes Red’s debut album "Dizzy on Daddy", a lush, romantic, edgy song cycle of heartache and yearning. Rat Wakes Red began as James Raftery creating songs in late night living room light. Odes to longing and loss found their way to producer Jeral Benjamin and together with 32 tracks and a spare lineup of James on acoustic guitar, voice, found sound percussion and Jeral's multi-tracked viola they created "Dizzy on Daddy", a sad and sweet wall of sound. Rabid continued “Each time Raftery hits one of his bass strings, it slips into a slice of Jeral Benjamin's hovering viola, and the air is like leaves falling on a fall day.”
Rat Wakes Red followed up with a second full-length release "Horizon Drops". Electric guitar, keys, drums, and bass provide the flipside to the previous acoustic rush. The songs are louder, faster and rock, with James' voice returning in harmonic hooks and cryptic choruses. From the Sentimentalist Magazine, "Horizon Drops combines shimmering 4AD, Throwing Muses inspired moments…”. Rat Wakes Red’s next release was the ep/dvd, "Energy Garage". The songs and music video are spacey acoustic folk, pop with sweeping strings, and quirky rock. The Ectophiles’ Guide declared it “…a folksy and intriguing EP, only four songs but they really hit the mark”.
Radio quickly took notice of Rat Wakes Red with "Dizzy on Daddy" and "Horizon Drops" charting CMJ and AAA Top 30. Rat Wakes Red has played live shows from New York City to Toronto and has opened for such artists as Bob Mould, Hayden, and Sloan.
What the critics are saying:
"Every song without exception sees the most interesting of bands make their mark on your mind…about as good as it gets." - (hEARd Magazine)
"Rat Wakes Red blends neo-gothic folk with modern 21st century recording to produce a sublime sonic sedation of melodies." - (Bostons Weekly Dig)
"Rat Wakes Red pays homage to the likes of Kristin Hersh, Kate Bush and Leonard Cohen, who also make pain and loss the cornerstone of their musical melodramas." - (Splendid E-Zine)
"Fans of the darker side of mellowness (or classic 4AD records) should seek it out." - (Reno Gazette Journal)
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