Spring is at our doorstep but RATKING’s winter inspired 700-Fill may have you far too entranced to answer its knock. The trio took part in the growing tradition of “taking them by surprise,” and decided to ambush their listeners with their latest EP.
Despite my occupational obligation to keep my nose in everything, I had no idea about 700-Fill. I only became hip after running into a friend, sculptor Derek Weisberg, at a gallery in The Lower East Side and he asked, “Did you hear that new RATKING?” I sincerely replied, “Fuck no. Show me where it is or I’ll murder your face with your own face.” I downloaded the album on the spot and cut my gallery visit short just so I can listen to it on the way home.
Moments like those have become rare, few and far in between. I’m only twenty-nine, so I’m no stranger to the hyper-consumption of music by ways of the interwebs, but it reminded me of a time when everyone knew about a record because it was simply too dope to not know about it. Does that makes sense?
In other words, the record doesn’t get rushed to you through a rapid, all-inclusive stream of informative data but instead paddles its way to your musical conscious via communal word-of-mouth and quotidian folklore.
The EP’s title, 700-Fill, is a reference to the system of measurement used to determine down quality in winter coats and cleverly sets the tone for the project. The first leg of tracks, “American Gods,” “Bethel” and “Flurry” in particular, are lyrical slapboxing sessions that usher you into the neither gone nor forgotten Triple Fat Goose era. For those of you who have listened to So It Goes more times than you can count, the evolutionary shift in the group’s tone and overall sound is noticeable. The bars are more stern and the production, thunder-browed with a snarly grin, has a brooding appeal that goes hand-in-hand with the cold weather season.
This doesn’t mean that Hak, Sporting Life and Wiki don’t find time to lighten up and smooth it out. Songs like “Arnold Palmer,” “Eternal Reveal” and “Lenape Lane” melt the ice grill off 700-Fill, making it a balanced body of work. The song that best embodies this perfect storm is “Sticky Trap.” “Make It Work” is a great last track but “Sticky Trap” is a mellow (but foreboding) tune that contains everything that is signature about RATKING’s ever evolving sound. Overall, 700-Fill is a warm gesture from RATKING to their fans, old and new alike.
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