Album samplers can be irritating. Even if you like the majority of the four or five tracks on display, that is no guarantee that the album itself will be to your taste. Of course, if you don’t like them then it is unlikely that you will waste your money.
Unfortunately, the sampler for The Rascals’ album Rascalize falls into neither of these camps, confusing the decision further. How? You may ask. Well, it is quite good but also quite samey, and if there is a lack of variety over five tracks, a similar lack of variety over a whole album may become annoying.
The Rascals’ music is largely dark and brooding, utilising gothic (and here think Nick Cave not Cradle of Filth) instrumentation efficient in a way that gets the most out of Miles Kane’s vocals. Opening track I’ll Give You Sympathy is the best of the five on this sampler, and is mildly reminiscent of Kane’s side-project The Last Shadow Puppets, but The Rascals fail to build on the style and compactness of the track.
Freakbeat Phantom is also half-decent, evoking early Cooper Temple Clause, but it evidently lacks the spark of I’ll Give You Sympathy. A lack of versatility on the tracks which follow serves to raise doubts about the potential of The Rascals, who lack the songwriting prowess and pre-existing hype of Alex Turner which helped The Last Shadow Puppets.
By the time we reach the last track, Stockings to Suit, boredom has already set in. The jury is certainly still out on The Rascals, and the moments of quality suggest that all is not lost, but I’m not sure they quite have enough ability or originality to progress beyond the first wave of Last Shadow Puppets hype which will inevitably surround the album’s release.