Featuring a plethora of collaborations, Sticky sees Frank Carter and his comrades call on an impressive list of musical acts to aid in delivering their metaphorical cuts. Tackling societal issues and delving into the depths of mental health, the band hold no boundaries when fronted with ‘taboos’ in their most honest, and sonically mature offering to date. Painting a vivid picture throughout of a broken-down city (“Sticky”, “My Town”) and the antics that occur within (“Cupid”), where “Bang Bang” and “Off With His Head” take a jab at fairy tales, The Rattlesnakes catastrophise the end of society as we know it.
Featuring dark and delicate themes, the band in no way stray from their classic, riotous punk-rock style. Opening with the titular track, “Sticky” is teeming with unbridled energy as the band waste no time bursting onto the scene in full throttle. Strong guitar riffs dominate the limelight, providing an apt accompaniment for Carter’s rap-style vocal performance as he introduces us to a new era of Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.
“Bang Bang” utilises antonyms by villainising classic fairy-tale lines with the aid of Lynks. “Mirror mirror mirror lying there on the floor” and “Following a rabbit through a tiny little crack” are joined by the heavily punctuated and staccato title lyrics in a gruesome twist on heavily doted narratives. “Bang Bang” reinforces the album’s overall theme with an on the nose sketch of a once magical tale turning black.
“My Town”, offers a fantastic display of crunching guitar lines and unrelenting instrumentation in the perfect utilisation of IDLES’ frontman Joe Talbot’s punk prowess. The gnarly collaboration paints a lyrical narrative of a dilapidated town in a metaphorical delve into societal issues. Focusing on socio-economic divides and personal mental stability, Carter reflects on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic through an energetic and heartfelt vocal performance. Profound lyricism declares, “You never talk about what’s deep inside/ My town, it looks like yours”, as Carter insists not to take things at surface value.
Swooping through evocative ballad-esque cuts “Off With His Head” and “Cobra Queen”, “Rat Race” reintroduces the band at full-throttle in a cathartic release of rolling drums and unexpected brass sections. “We all lost a year to the doldrums” nods at COVID-19 where with, “It’s not a prison sentence”, Carter signifies a light at the end of the bleak tunnel. The cut crescendos in a cacophony of instrumentation before cutting abruptly with whispered vocals.
Closing the album in fantastic style we find ourselves looped in the world of Bobby Gillespie with “Original Sin”. Wrapping up the end of an adrenaline fuelled romp through the band’s concept town, “I’ve seen the end of everything” lends an insight into the final sonic catastrophising of Carter’s lockdown trapped mind.