ALBUM REVIEW: Ratboys – Printer’s Devil
BEST TRACKS: Printer’s Devil, I Go Out at Night, Look To
Printer’s devil is an old term for an apprentice at a printing establishment. Printer’s devils would do simple tasks such as mix basins of ink. There are many supposed origins for the term. My favorite theory is that a mischievous devil, Titivillus, haunts every print shop and performs mischief such as removing lines of type and misspelling words. The printing apprentice was blamed for these things, and called the printer’s devil by association. Printer’s Devil is also the name of Ratboy’s most recent release and the last (and best) song on the album. This Chicago indie band is back on the scene, attempting to break our hearts again with another wistful, nostalgic album.
On Printer’s Devil, Ratboys banishes any last remaining essence of twang or folk from their style to produce a through and through alt-pop album. Julia Steiner’s voice is childlike and whimsical, which brings a level of warmth even to Ratboys’ most grungy, fuzzy songs. However, most songs on Printer’s Devil are on the softer side, which suits Steiner’s voice better. While she has a wonderful voice, Steiner is definitely not a screamer. While this album features some electrifying riffs, you won’t find anything too intense here. In accordance to Ratboys’ past style, Printer’s Devil is still rather laid-back, despite having lost elements of post-country and twang.
This album was recorded in Steiner’s empty childhood home, which might have added some ache to Steiner’s voice, especially since a prominent theme on this album is the revisitation of childhood memories as an adult. While listening to this album, I can’t help but recall memories of my own childhood and wondering what all those places from my memories look like now. Though Printer’s Devil is less novel than Ratboys’ previous release, GN, it’s still worth a run-through. Excite your ears with some new sounds. I’d recommend this album to fans of Charly Bliss, Cayetana, and Weakened Friends.