The exhilarating, anthemic punk of Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes gets right to the point on the project’s new album, Sticky, which is an October release from AWAL Recordings. Turning on the album feels like suddenly standing in a musical wind tunnel. It’s ferocious and pushes ahead at a resounding pace, like a sudden yet welcome shock wave throwing bystanders off-balance.
Guitarist and band co-founder Dean Richardson ties the group’s energy on Sticky to their interest in performing live.
“As for inspiration, honestly, I think it’s the sound of a band in prison,” Richardson says. “We were put here to play live, and it’s no surprise when you take that away from us, our music got 30 BPM faster and so intense.”
Richardson produced Sticky, and he says that he dialed into experiences of the band’s live energy when sculpting the album.
“Live energy is really where Rattlesnakes is most at home,” he observes. “Finding that on the record has actually been quite a journey. Take a sweaty venue or even an arena full of 10,000 people, and you have so much energy. Particles colliding and emotions flying.
“On stage, we soak that in, and the rest is so natural to us. Then, take those same people, put them in a studio, and it’s just so quiet. I produced this record, so I really did want to capture some of that energy, as I think if we can, then it’ll come across even better on stage. I think we got the closest so far.”
While the songs across Sticky pack a punch—seriously: they’re physically intense—the record also feels just about instantly catchy. The album connects aggression to exhilarating energy, lending a sense of welcomingly unsettling catharsis to the band’s journey.
It’s free-wheeling, but not un-grounded—on Sticky, Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes share pointed melodies while pushing relentlessly ahead, and the band invite listeners along for the ride, however bumpy. The furor is intriguing, like the musical equivalent of a party suddenly popping up in an area of town observers might not otherwise expect to find such a thing.
“We never really set an agenda up front,” Richardson says, discussing the band’s creative endeavors. “We make a bunch of music, find the songs in the walls, and let the theme or style find us. It’s probably not the safest way to make music, as it can lead us down all sorts of rabbit holes, but it’s definitely the only way me and [frontman] Frank [Carter] can work.
“It allows us to be free of any worries throughout. Asking questions about what you’re making whilst you’re in the middle of it runs the risk of shutting you down. It’s much better to just chase the inspiration and then stand on top of a pile of songs and look down and see what you made at that point.”
For Sticky, the band’s attachment to the songwriting process turned into an especially personal effort.
“For this record, a lot of it was made in the same room at the same time,” Richardson explains. “In the past, I would write riffs and music, then bring them to Frank, who would see where they fit in his lyrical world. But as we were off tour, we went away to cabins and studios, and I would sit and write while Frank wrote his lyrics. Either way, the goal is always to find a fit. If we can’t make the music and lyrics work, we won’t force it. It has to feel natural.”
The angles of the music sometimes suggest an undercurrent of desperation, but Richardson and Carter find freeing abandon amid the haze.
“Intentional is a funny word for Rattlesnakes,” Richardson explains. “I think if you are making anything that could be deemed emotional, it’s really dangerous to have any intention beyond expressing your emotions. It’s really important to us that we believe in what we’re playing and saying.
“So really, our records are just a snapshot of where we are at that point in time. They don’t really reference what came before, intentionally, and they don’t really point to the next record. I think it’s clear you can hear the links between it all, as it’s the same people making it, but our only goal is to put something down that feels real to us in that time.”
“Before the pandemic, I would have said making music was my favorite thing to do in life,” Richardson adds. “But I really miss shows. I think it is a really cathartic process for us though. As to why we come back, who knows? But I definitely don’t look forward to the day I don’t want to come back and make another.”
Watch the video for “Off With His Head ft. Cassyette” here:
Photo courtesy of Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes and Jenny Bough