Rat Columns


One of the joys of following David West’s evolution as Rat Columns has been his incredible ability to absorb styles and genres and constantly shift the idea of what defines the band’s sound. The early records were dark and sheltered, a far cry from 2017’s excellent, and hard to pin down Candle Power. With just a quick EP in between, the new record shifts once again, jettisoning the focus on jangle-pop and synth-pop poles in favor of a larger power pop sound. If anything, though, Pacific Kiss is one of the most concise and consistent records West has ever done, outside of his solo LP from a few years back.

The guitars are brought out into the sunshine to glow and purr under the dawn. There’s a rather fun immediacy to the new record that comes through in the keys supplied by Joey Fishman. HIs touches give the LP a resplendent pop shimmer, aided and abetted by the background vocals of Amber Gempton and Raven Mahon (The Green Child). That’s not to say that the moodiness of West’s past has gone completely by the wayside. When he skews melancholy there’s still the draped emotionality that has long marked his songwriting, just dressed up a bit in production and punch. This is West at his best, picking out the gilded pieces of his past few records and melting them down into the polished pop geodes that populate the new record.

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