Ratboys – The Window

The Window is indicative of a newfound assuredness for Chicago foursome Ratboys

Album Review by Tony Inglis | 21 Aug 2023
  • Ratboys – The Window
Album title: The Window
Artist: Ratboys
Label: Topshelf Records
Release date: 25 Aug

There’s a couple of moments in Xavier Dolan’s Mommy when combustible teenager Steve appears to literally push the aspect ratio into widescreen. He’s finally able to breathe, the scope of his hopefulness turning into a vista. If the frame is a window, then Ratboys replicate the trick on Black Earth, WI with an unexpected five-minute guitar solo – the breadth of their capabilities unfurling in high definition.

The Window is indicative of a newfound assuredness for a band which itself has stretched from a two-piece to a full foursome. There’s the scrappy pop-punk of Crossed that Line, which follows the dad rock choogle of Morning Zoo. Ratboys call Chicago home, so it’s no surprise that the aesthetics of Sky Blue Sky-era Wilco looms large on this record, with virtuoso playing combining into sweeping soft rock anthems. 

But it’s Julia Steiner’s unmistakable voice, her lines the real windows, that connect it all. 'I could tell that we’d be friends from the first moment we walked around and started talking all about our favorite bands', she remembers on I Want You (Fall 2010). 'We’re so lost, but it’s whatever, and I’m working up the guts to say that'.

Listen to: Morning Zoo, Empty, Black Earth, WI