Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

“I’m just runnin’ a temperature / Happiness is for amateurs,” Jason Collett drawls on Rat A Tat Tat’s first track, “Rave On Sad Songs,” perhaps mocking the role of a self-pitying folkie, embracing it, or more slyly, both. Collett’s twists of phrase bring character without too much figurative baggage: His burden on “Winnipeg Winds” is “heavy as the King James version.” Even though the part-time Broken Social Scenester borrows some dust and part of his vocal style from Blonde On Blonde, that doesn’t account for the swaying grooves of “Lake Superior” or the tense piano-plodder “High Summer.” The ramshackle soul of “Love Is A Chain” and “Bitch City” signal that Collett is never taking himself too seriously, though he might have listeners believing differently for argument’s sake.


For all the sense of history and ambition Rat A Tat Tat shows off, none of it beats just chilling out and clowning around on the loveably goofy “The Slowest Dance.” Most of Rat A Tat Tat strives for genuineness, pop, and wry wisdom, and absolutely does better than the average record attempting it. But “Dance” wraps up the paradox of every Jason Collett album: He’s far better when he takes it a little easier, leaving all the well-studied elements to fall into place in good time.

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