THE SEWER RATS
CD, LP, digital
In the last two years, pop-punk globetrotters THE SEWER RATS from Cologne have played over 100 gigs worldwide with their 90s fatwreck-influenced sound, making you really want to come back next summer with sunny anthems about skateboards and road trips. In addition to an extensive Euro and East Coast tour with New Yorkers THE JUKEBOX ROMANTICS as well as support shows for THE QUEERS, TIGER ARMY and LILLINGTONS, the Cologne boys have already opened for the BROILERS, among others, and played at the crème de la crème of international pop-punk festivals. Now the new album “Magic Summer” is in the starting blocks, the first single “Rejuvenate” (including video) – a declaration of love to skateboarding and friendship and everything we experienced back then between the first punk show and the skatepark – is out. The release party at the Sonic Ballroom in Cologne is already sold out.
The album was recorded under the Italian summer sun in Europe’s pop-punk studio no. 1, the TUP Studio (THE MANGES, CJ RAMONE, THE PEAWEES) in Northern Italy. The final touches were put on the record in the hallowed halls of Bill Stevenson’s BLASTING ROOM, where scene icons like NOFX, TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET, LILLINGTONS and PROPAGANDHI have already immortalized themselves. Andrew Berlin did the mixing and it was mastered by Mr. Goldhands, Jason Livermore, himself (DESCENDENTS, RISE AGAINST etc). For the title track of the record, a guest appearance by BROILERS keyboardist Chris was also realized.
Both musically and lyrically, the album is a rejuvenation and homage to the golden era of Epitaph/Lookout and Fatwreck sounds of the 90s, punk rock and skateboarding, and that one big epic summer of their own youth. Endless road trips with friends, punk rock mixtapes, Bones Brigade and 411 VHS skate videos are the building blocks of the magic of this summer fairy tale. “Magic Summer” is both a melancholic retrospective and an optimistic “look ahead”, a declaration of love for the “good old days” and a life in and with the subculture, a pain of transience, a longing for the past and the times experienced, and a defiant promise of “young until I die”. The record is serious and juvenile at the same time, combines teenage bubblegum daydreams and half-strong pop-punk rebellion with wistful pain of loss, middle finger manifesto/loyalty oath and positive mood of departure.
While the previous album “Heartbreaks and Milkshakes” was still much about the international pop-punk theme No. 1 – Love Songs – “Magic Summer” is about theme No. 2 – growing up or the attempt to escape from it. So the opener “Rejuvenate” is a classic 90s skate punk steam hammer, Hoss-Lagwagon and Satanic Surfers send their regards, the next bowl session is calling. No desire for boring bourgeois life, the skateboard belongs on the street and not in the basement. (Everybody knows it, the uneasy feeling that everything is changing, even though you neither want to nor have the desire to participate. Everyone has less time and is no longer every day at your side as before, series gawking on the coach instead of in series Ollies practice on the road. Was it all just a phase? Or is it part of life?)
“I’m Quitting My Job” deals with a classic theme of everyone not having a nice boss or enough vacation days to be able to play the East Coast tour from New York down to FEST in Gainesville with the Jukebox Romantics. A nightmare for clichéd German security thinking based on a true story. Singer and guitarist Chris Gin quit his job in 2018 for the band’s US tour. So this pop-punk gem celebrates the classic money vs. passion dilemma.
From a pop-punk standpoint, what’s more hopeless than a languorous declaration of love for a girl? That’s right. One to a girl who doesn’t even exist! In “My Sweet Chun-Li,” the band dedicates a sizzling sweet bubblegum Ramonescore ballad to the arcade queen and Street Fighter II heroine with butterflies in her stomach and ratty Chucks on her feet.
Everything sucks and the world out there can kiss your ass? We know! “I Don’t Wanna Leave My Room No More.” Corona or not, there are often enough reasons in this world to not want to leave your own 4 walls. Between your own record collection, out-of-tune acoustic guitar and a mountain of dirty laundry, you’re safe from all the nasty shit the world fires at you.
But with “Choice”, the band also releases an explicitly political song for the first time. “I’ve been a vegetarian – thanks to Propaghandi – since 17, and I’ve been living exclusively vegan for 4 years now”, singer and guitarist Chris Gin tells us. “This topic is really close to my heart and so I’m totally happy that we are now also speaking out about it as a band and standing up for animal rights. It is important to me to come along without moralistic index finger, but to clarify positively: Every day is a new chance. You have the choice and can make more empathetic decisions than the day before. Every step counts!”
“Magic Summer” – the brand new album of the 90s punk globetrotters from Cologne out April 30th on Uncle M, Monster Zero and Disconnect Disconnect. On CD, yellow vinyl and digital.