THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes’ fourth and loudest album Sticky is set to cement the band’s reputation as the most exciting partnership in British punk. Frontman Carter and guitarist Dean Richardson have always had a reputation for raw, eviscerating energy, but this album takes that power and channels it into the most fiery and immediately addictive record of their career. It is the first time they have worked with feature artists like Bobby Gillespie, Joe Talbot, Lynks and Cassyette.
Recent months have seen the pair unleashed after lockdown and upping the ante in every way: Infiltrating the airwaves with their biggest track to date My Town (featuring Idles frotman Talbot); smashing their headline set at Download, the first major festival since lockdown; and holding nothing back with this state-of-the-nation address of a new album.
“This entire record is a celebration of everything that has been taken away from us, the chaos that makes us human,” says Carter. “The emotional scavengers we are, hunting around in all the wrong places for an immediate feeling we can compartmentalise and inject straight into our hearts without fear of consequence.”
For those who want a record which celebrates the thrill of returning to freedom and all of the joy and madness that entails, this is it. Produced by Richardson, Sticky seizes the day from the very beginning when Carter hollers, “I go where monsters dwell / Dancing like a madman through a personal hell.” And it doesn’t let up over a full-throttle thirty minutes. Eviscerating punk riffs collide with Carter’s Keith Flint / Sid Vicious rebel yell. And the most boisterous, beefiest beats of their career provides the supporting structure for an army of charismatic underdogs who add their voice to Carter’s rabble-rousing sermons.
Yet as the chaos sprawls from each speaker, Carter knows that at a time like this his lyrics have to matter. Politics is a recurring theme. Rat Race is an expression of the abject disgust he has for the politicians who used the pandemic as a mask for accelerating their wealth, while Off With Their Heads targets the pyramid scheme that is the patriarchy. It’s relatable and real too, especially as he examines a nation of identikit rundown high streets in My Town.
The topic of love and relationships also echoes throughout, although it never runs quite smoothly. Cobra Queen is about the life-affirming rush of finding a soul mate. As Carter notes, “When the universe sets this up for you, try your best not to fuck it up”, which ties in perfectly with the minefield of modern dating that he explores in Cupid’s Arrow, a tale of social media-induced IRL anxiety causing a panic attack in the middle of a date.
Perhaps most personal of all is Go Get A Tattoo, which Carter describes as his “love letter to tattooing and how it’s made me feel over the years.” He achieved a life-long ambition when he opened his first tattoo shop Rose of Mercy in March 2020. Three weeks later it was closed with no return in sight. “Without tattooing I wouldn’t be the person I am. It gives me a way to get closer to friends, family and fans and provides intimate connections with people to create memories that can last lifetimes.”
And when the challenges of society, love or personal ambitions gets too much, it’s the British way to lose ourselves in some old-fashioned hedonism. Whether it’s with the slow-motion death of alcoholism (Take It To The Brink) or racking up lines of cocaine (Bang Bang), those escapes can turn us into idiots with a hellish Monday morning ahead of us. But as Carter concludes, “Drugs are bad. But when the whole world is burning, all your friends are dying, you work a job you hate, in a country run by white privileged cunts who are happier to watch their friends get richer than flatten a curve, maybe rotting your brain is excusable. At least for the summer.”
With Sticky, Carter and Richardson have an album that’s nostalgic, classic and timeless, but one that also pours the frustrations of the COVID era into a cathartic release of pent-up fury. One record can’t change the world, but Sticky provides a 30-minute thrillride of an escape. And however shit society may be, there are legions of like-minded souls who strive for something better.”