Love for Ratboys:
“It builds on the imagery of its title throughout, a twangy rock rush about feeling unreal in reality.”
“Chicago indie rockers Ratboys go to outer space with their new song and video, the first taste of their upcoming album Printer’s Devil.” – Brooklyn Vegan
“The track, which is equally as captivating in video form, is Ratboys at the height of their power.”
– The Grey Estates
And they make that introduction with an exceptional new video for this new single as well, as they aptly blast their sound into outer space.
Steiner wrote the majority of Printer’s Devil with Sagan while she was experiencing a dramatic shift in her own foundations, demoing out songs in her Louisville, Kentucky childhood home, which had just been sold and emptied out.
“Demoing there was almost too intense,” Steiner says. “I kept writing in my journal that it feels like we shouldn’t be there. I don’t know if that feeling made its way directly into the lyrics, but to me, the songs will always be connected to that sense of home and time passing.”
Upheaval and change are clear themes spread throughout the songs of Printer’s Devil, but the moments of uncertainty are embraced as a necessary part of growing. And through it all, Ratboys’ dynamics still beautifully thread together the kinds of intimate folk songs and devastating alt-country tracks that fans have come to expect from them, showcasing a rare range that invites listeners to imagine the band blowing out a 2,000-cap room or playing quietly next to you in the living room.
An anachronism for a printer’s apprentice, the phrase “printer’s devil” came serendipitously to Steiner while she and Sagan were demoing in that same house. “I was reading about Walt Whitman and there was this very casual sentence that said Whitman worked as a printer’s devil in a printing house in Brooklyn.” She pauses on the phrase. “I had never seen those two words together. They are both very powerful on their own, and together it was just a complete unknown, a total mystery. One of Whitman’s jobs was to test the ink. I don’t know if this actually happened, but I have a feeling that maybe this was one of the first times he experimented with poetry.”
The title Printer’s Devil symbolizes this journey of new discovery, finding things from one to the other and letting meaning snowball and continuing down that path. On the title track that closes the record, using a simple loop and a repeating chord progression, Steiner slowly inserts abstractions, like testing the ink on the page. The motion continues, the band never breaking from the meditative loop, finding meaning in the smallest things, letting the idea guide the way.
“To be able to embrace a simple idea,” Steiner says, “and follow it where it needs to go, was revolutionary to me.” The song is both a punctuation mark and a cliffhanger. It seems that Ratboys are on the right path, and the journey has just begun.
PRINTER’S DEVIL is out February 28 via Dew Process