When a band is five albums into their career, it has become an expectation for each album to have the same sound and style as the previous one. This is not the case with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. Primarily a punk rock band, with their fifth effort, ‘Dark Rainbow,’ they deliver an absolutely smashing record with elements of jazz, punk and synth rock.  Other than the musical genres, the focus of this album is on the instruments and the vocals. This album sounds absolutely massive, and each instrument can clearly be identified within the mix. Something that clearly deserves credit as this is an issue that a lot of albums have in our day and age.

Right from the get-go, the band gives us a taste of what is to be expected from the eleven tracks on this record with the album opener ‘Honey.’ A track buzzing with high octane energy, and when that first chorus arrived, I got sucked instantly into the song with no turning back. It was powerful, it was heavy and it was extremely memorable. Keeping me wanting more from the short three minutes and fifteen seconds ‘Honey’ lasted. The second track on ‘Dark Rainbow’ is the first single released from this project, ‘Man Of The Hour.’ A huge, atmospheric sounding track with another massive chorus. It was at this point where I realized that the focus of this album was going to be choruses. Each song in the first half of this album until ‘Brambles’ had a chorus which completely blew me away. ‘Brambles’ is a very mediocre way to end the first half of the album as it sounds too commercial and lacks the power and energy which the other songs up until this point had. it is the poppiest song on this record, which helps it stand out, but not in the way Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes would have hoped.

The second half of this record starts with a couple of ballads. Both ‘Queen Of Hearts’ and ‘Sun Bright Golden Happening’ sound absurdly similar and very formulaic, with the same structure to them. The only notable difference is that ‘Queen of Hearts’ ends with a piano solo which fades away, whilst ‘Sun Bright Golden Happening’ ends with what sounds like a clarinet solo, which is unique, sure, but it could have been executed in a much more elevated way.

This small hiccup is short lived, as the following song, ‘Superstar’ stands out as the best song on this album. The band fires on all cylinders on this track, as the word ‘punk’ literally comes alive. The chorus is spectacular, the drums are heavy, and you can feel every snare and cymbal hit, while the riffs would make any old school punk rock fans proud! The following song, ‘Self Love’ continues with the energy from ‘Superstar’ but this time, the bass and the synths are the star of the show. This makes the album sound complete as the synths and the bass are often overshone by Frank Carter’s voice, and with this song, it feels like none of the musicians were excluded from collaborating which is crucial in a band. The closer, and the title track, sounds very humble compared to the other ten songs on this album. It has a far more laid-back approach which gives the album a sense of closure. Simply ending with the words “a dark rainbow.”

Overall, this is an album that combines multiple genres flawlessly. There is a hint of funk, rock, jazz and punk, the genre Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are known for. The choruses here are the star of the show and keep the listener coming back for more. This album was such an easy listen for me because of how fantastic the choruses on this album are. With ‘Dark Rainbow,’ Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes got this year started out in the best way possible.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes: Dark Rainbow – Out 26th January 2024 (International Death Cult/AWAL)

Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Man of the Hour (Official Video) (youtube.com)