Alarm Magazine
Eddie Fournier

Rat Wakes Red is James Raftery (vocals, guitar, keyboard and other sounds) and Jeral Benjamin (viola). From Raftery we get a voice reminiscent of Elliott Smith, combined with the finger-picking of Nick Drake. As you can imagine, the end result borders on dismal, or what the duo refers to as "odes to longing and loss." Multi-layered harmonies mixed in with strings and keyboards create a wall of sound that enhances the all-encompassing sound of this drumless neo-gothic folk. And Raftery is quite the storyteller, which is part of what breaks your heart, because it often sounds as though he is speaking directly to you. It's a little difficult to take in large doses, since the down-trodden feeling you get from hearing it will put you in tears or curled up in the fetal position. In small doses though, it is lush and lovely, and if you're into lying around and feeling sorry for yourself, let the entire thing play through.