Dale Crover played drums for the Melvins for over 30 years, a fact that seems obvious after listening to his recently released album Rat-A-Tat-Tat! Having also played for Nirvana before Dave Grohl joined, Crover ranked 69/100 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the best drummers of all time. For this album, Crover plays alongside Dan Southwick of Altamont, among other famous punk rock musicians.
As his second solo album, Rat-A-Tat-Tat! boasts distinct and inventive drumbeats throughout each of its twelve tracks, a constant along with the steady style between songs. A focus on the instrumental as well as the low and often distorted vocals give the album it’s encompassing grungy sound. But Crover does include some unexpected aspects, such as electronic background music that gives multiple of the songs an almost sci-fi feel. Crover said “I think we’re all living in hell,” in an interview with PunkNews, and it shows in the gloomy/spooky tone of the record.
Crover does utilize enough variation in sound to make the tracks somewhat distinct from each other when listening to them back to back. However, Rat-A-Tat-Tat! as a whole blends together into over thirty-five minutes of accentuated drums and staticky distortion. Whether that aspect of consistency within the album is more of a positive or negative depends on the listener—but in any case, it makes it a great album to listen to all the way through.
Rat-A-Tat-Tat! starts out strong with the track “Moclips,” featuring that familiar emphasis on drums with unintelligible vocals. At track five—“Shark Like Overbite”—Crover ups the tempo on the most poppy track on the album. There is also mixing of heavy guitar, some electronic influences, and fuzzy background noise, “Untrue Crime” stands out due to its steady guitar, almost sounding like it could be in the soundtrack of a 90s movie. The catchy guitar riff and building background vocals of “Kiss Proof World” lead the album to a laidback close. The track also ends with the same springy sound effects as the opener, finishing the album with a full circle moment.
All in all, this album seems to be a cohesive musical story, filled to the brim with Crover’s musical expertise from playing professional music for decades. Rat-A-Tat-Tat! will not be for everyone, due to its heavy distortion and unconventional style. But the album features expert musicianship and a very interesting sound, and anyone looking to diversify their music taste should try it out!