Boston's Weekly Dig
It would appear, from listening to this disc, that Rat's got a few problems, and with a nickname like Rat, where do you start? Sometimes it's just best to take your ol' friend the geetar and work out a few of those problems on your own, in your living room, by yourself. And that's where this story begins. Producer/violist Jeral Benjamin caught wind of Rat's (a.k.a. James Raftery) late night living room rants and put the boy in the studio where he belonged. Dizzy on Daddy consists of 32-layered tracks of guitar, vocals, found-sound percussion (no drums) and viola...but mostly vocals. Rat Wakes Red blends neo-gothic-folk with modern 21st century recording to produce a sublime sonic sedation of melodies. I say folk because I guess that's what you're supposed to call a singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar, but in the case of Rat Wakes Red with James' layered harmonies and dark gothic overtones, the word folk just does not hit the mark. I just can't say the word folk without thinking about hippies and coffee shops and I don't think Rat would feel comfortable hanging out with or in either of the aforementioned. While many of the songs drift by like unpracticed prose, others pull together with pop practicality. Rat stays true to the fundamentals of music, which is storytelling, when he sings, "And my mind is breaking over your headbirth and hover." Although I have no idea what he's singing about, I'm sucked in nonetheless.