China Rats: Don’t Play With Fire – ep review

China Rats: Don’t Play With Fire (Once Upon A Time)


Available September 30th 2013

Brash, cocky, likable and loud, China Rats, who’ve been compared to The Vaccines and The Arctic Monkeys among others, have a new EP out. idp takes a listen.

With gigs at Leeds and Reading (and Bingley, where I had the good fortune to hear them and where the nice pictures below were taken), a trip to SXSW and a surprise headline spot at Benicassim, Leeds based China Rats have had a good year and this new EP seems likely to cement their position as one of the best up and coming bands in the country. Although it’s only five songs long the rats manage to pack in a wide range of styles that show a wide range of influences as you’d expect from a band who have been compared to The Enemy, The Vaccines and The Arctic Monkeys to name but a few.


China Rats aren’t big on subtlety and this isn’t music for discussing politely or for debating meanings – this is big, riffy, noise pop with great hooks, made to be turned up really loud to annoy the neighbours, kicking off with N.O.M.O.N.E.Y., which has already received some mainstream radio airplay – a proper little rocker about just the things proper little rockers should be about – girls, being skint, girls, dancing and girls. It’s a big sound, fast and noisy and a bit Undertonesish and echoey as the bottom of a very big bucket – but the distortion suits the song so no problems there.

Deadbeat is full of Ramones style energy, Get Loose sounds a bit like an early Kinks song and is an altogether poppier proposition that could easily be an indie disco favourite. Reeperbahn opens the sound up until it resembles classic 60s psych rock, great harmonies and I’ve not heard a tambourine that high in the mix for a long, Winding things up is Green Tears, whose vocal harmonies come straight from the Beatles, but with a big ringing fuzz guitar solo laid over the top and drums that threaten to come out of the speakers at you.

Great fun.


China Rats can be found at their website and at their Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud pages.

All words by idp. More work by idp can be found in his Louder Than War archive. His photography website is here and his photo blog is here. Images of the China Rats at Bingley 2103 are here. If you were at Bingley then you might be in this gallery.

China Rats: Don’t Play With Fire – ep review

China Rats: Don’t Play With Fire – ep review

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