Ratboys - The Window
The Chicago quartet swings big on a Chris Walla-produced album that brings unexpected grandeur to their modest, rootsy indie rock. It sounds like a breakthrough. – Pitchfork (8.0)
“[The Window is] tremendous.” – Stereogum
“The Window is not just an ambitious, poised masterwork; it’s the product of a decade-old band being so far in their own bag that they can’t do anything but sock certified dingers.” – Paste
Chicago’s beloved Ratboys will release their highly-anticipated new album, The Window, on August 25th via Topshelf Records. They recently shared “Morning Zoo,” which opens with a quick cascade of drums and swelling violin by Abby Gundersen. It’s the twangiest track on the album, and leans into the sound that made MTV deem the band “Chicago’s post-country troubadours.” As Julia Steiner sings about battling anxiety, her vocals have never sounded so weighty and strong, reminding us the never-ending fight is worth it: “Talk to myself all the time // Waiting on the long train // The Devil’s right behind // Stuck in the passing lane // How long does it take // To find the peace that I want?”
“The lyrics are meant to express the frustration and confusion that comes along with hanging out at a personal crossroads, where every day feels the same and the same big questions keep nagging at you from the back of your head,” says Steiner. “It’s that small, lingering feeling of numb indecision, of pesky anxiety- like disassociating at a stop sign or weighing all your biggest hopes and fears while stuck behind the longest freight train you’ve ever seen.”
Julia Steiner (vocals, guitar), Sean Neumann (bass), Marcus Nuccio (drums), and Dave Sagan (guitars) have an electric connection amongst each other. As championed throughout The Window’s singles, “Black Earth, WI,” “It’s Alive!,” “The Window,” and “Crossed That Line,” the album captures that kinetic energy. The Window is Ratboys as they were always meant to be heard – expansive while still intimate, audacious while still tender – the sound of four friends operating as a single, cohesive unit.
To make The Window, Ratboys traveled outside their home base of Chicago to record an album for the first time ever, journeying to Seattle to work with producer Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie, Tegan and Sara, Foxing) for three weeks. The sessions struck the perfect balance between preparation and experimentation. Walla’s studio sensibilities pushed Ratboys to stretch and expand their vision, adding unexpected elements and instruments like rototoms, talkboxes, and fiddles. Hunting for sonic inspiration, Walla and the band sometimes spent hours just listening to their favorite albums, spinning everything from Sloan to Brainiac to The Roches.
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