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Boomtown Rats | Citizens of Boomtown

The reunited Irish rockers return after 36 years with a diverse disc that grows on you.

WHO ARE THEY? The mostly reunited Irish rockers co-founded and fronted by Band Aid and Live Aid mastermind Sir Bob Geldof — joined here by original Rats guitarist Garry Roberts, bassist Pete Briquette and drummer Simon Crowe. Fun fact: The latter trio’s obituaries will all include the phrase “best known for the 1979 school-shooting ballad I Don’t Like Mondays” in the lede.

WHAT IS THIS? Their first album of original material since 1984’s long-forgotten In The Long Grass (though the band did contribute two new cuts to the 2013 compilation album Back to Boomtown).

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? A mixed bag. In more ways than one. While some of these 10 cuts momentarily remind you of the tensely wound, archly sophisticated new wave of their late-’70s heyday, most of the album is a sonic and stylistic hodge-podge, veering between glam, blues, folk, garage-rock and more — with varying degrees of success — over the course of 42 minutes. However they currently feel about Mondays, it’s clear the Rats don’t like monotony.

WHAT ARE THE MOST REVEALING LYRICS? “It’s a trash can world.”

WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? The Fine Art of Resurfacing.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? Without comparing it to the older albums. Whether you dig it or not, it hardly seems fair to expect this disc maintain standards they set more than a generation ago.

WHAT 10 WORDS SUM IT UP? Diverse, retro, unpredictable, wry, cerebral, witty, inconsistent, energetic, stylish, quirky.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The Mott-infused Trash Glam Baby and Rock ’n’ Roll Ye Ye, the Doorsy post-modern blues of Monster Monkeys, the garage-rock stomper She Said No, the David Bowie-style art-rock of Passing Through, the Lou Reed-meets-Bob Dylan strummer Here’s A Postcard.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘Every one of these songs could be a single, but for some reason when you put them all together, they don’t seem like an album — unless it’s an album of B-sides and unreleased leftovers.’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO IT? Whenever you’re in the mood for an album where nearly every song sounds like it could be from a different band.


SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Well, despite their occasional shortcomings, these songs grew on me. Maybe start with the stream and see if your mileage varies.

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