Taking a nod from the Liverpool music scene that they grew up in, The Rascals have an ear for beautiful pop melodies and an instinct for psychedelic quirk, however there’s a unique and compelling dark soul that underlines their spirit.
Though formed in May 2007, the Wirral-based trio Miles Kane (guitar/vocals), Joe Edwards (bass) and Greg Mighall (drums), admit that having known each other since their youths there is already years of deep passion behind this band.
“You know that feeling when you’re 14 and you first get into tunes?” asks Joe, highlighting the band’s infectious enthusiasm. “Well we have that same feeling now. We’re just really excited with music.”
“We really have been waiting to be in this band since we got into music,” adds Greg. “We just couldn’t be in any other band now.”
With Scott Walker chief among their music heroes, there is a sweeping epic quality to their music that meets a David Lynch-esque vision in their lyrics. Not content just to deal with the superficial, the band’s words search beyond the shallows exploring the darker and twisted realities behind the everyday. This is pop noir.
“There is a dark element to what we do, because we’re not happy to skate the surface, we like to delve below, picking up on things that are already there though you might not spot them straightaway,” explains Miles. “It’s using your head. Not exaggerating things, but just taking a different perspective on the people we meet and the circumstances they’re in to find a deeper meaning. We never sit down and think we need to write a tune about something, it’s what’s going around us that inspires, it’s just natural. A lot of the tunes are about finding the drama behind words and situations.”
Following their taught, snapping live shows that have already earned the band rave reviews (recently seeing them support Arctic Monkeys on tour) and their introductory EP ‘Out Of Dreams’ which was released in December 2007, The Rascals are currently putting the final touches to their debut album.
Recorded this winter with producer Ben Hillier (The Horrors, Blur, Elbow) in London, the first fruits of those sessions will be released on February 18th with full debut single ‘Suspicious Wit’.
From the growling opening, its twisting lyrics delivered at breakneck speed to the foundation shaking chorus, the song is a thunderous darken gem that smoothly infiltrates the listener’s mind.
“It’s a good taster for people, it’s a bit unique to us,” explains Miles. “It feels like a song that could only be created by us, not one else is writing songs like that. It’s a big filthy tune, so it was a good choice for the first proper single.”
The song itself is also evidence of the strong creative pulse that runs through the band, as Miles reveals it was written only a few weeks before the band headed into the studio (and he’s not stopped there, also writing a whole album of songs with Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner, which will be released separately in April).
“We’re just hungry for it. We’ve got all these ideas and it’s the natural thing to get them out there. That makes you progress as a band, it keeps you moving forward and pushing it. I think the day you do settle back that’s bad…” declares the frontman, before adding with a cheeky laugh, “that is, until you’re on your yacht!”
Proof of their desire can be seen in the way they’ve gone about sessions for their debut album. While many bands might now be happy to assemble their songs through a series of cold, cut n’ paste computer recordings, every song The Rascals’ have recorded for the album features the three of them, playing their music together in the same room, at the same time.
It’s the way classic albums are made, but the Rsacals are not retro revivalists. The recordings revewal a thoroughly modern record, surging wtih energy, ideas and a daring spirit.
“You can feel each song’s personality,” says Miles of the restults. “Everything on there, the three of us have played. It’s not been manhandled by anyone else.”
Being true to themselves and their vision is crucial to The Rascals. Though they first met through the Liverpool music scene, the trio only started playing music together a few years ago when tehy joined cult-favourites The Little Flames, fitting rehearsals as a trio around the five-piece’s practices.
however with Little Flames’ debut album looming, the trio realised that the spare time jams were actually bringing out their best music and though it was a tough decision, The Rascals realised tahey couldn’t let the songs they were creating together go to waste.
“The ‘Flames was a boss band, it was a great opportunity and we learnt loads,”says Miles,”but the time was right to move on. When you’ve got it, you have to do it or else you’ll explode. The thing with the ‘Flames was gettin thinner and The Rascals was getting bigger. It just got to teh poin where we couldn’t not do it. It just felt right”
Since they took the decision to go their own way last year, the trio haven’t taken their foot of the pedal. Their first headlinen tour dates are booked for February, the album is set for a summer release and tehy’ve even found time to appear in teh film ‘Away Days’ – based on the Kevin Sampson book on football hooligans – performing their version of Echo and the Bunneymen’s ‘All That Jazz’ on screen. And there’s no chance of them letting-up any time soon.
“It’s balls out,” declares Miles, summing-up not just The Rascals music, but their attitude and the way this band will lay it all on the line. “We couldn’t make a better a record at this point. There’s no way we could try any harder because we haven’t held anything back. We’ve put everything into this band and into our album. For The Rascals there’s no other way of making music.”