Within the first moments of Fortune Metal’s opening song, it’s obvious that Pavement is possibly the biggest influence on Ratigan’s music. The Providence, RI indie group, led by 20-year-old Patrick Higgins, share a nostalgia similar to that of most kids who grew up in the 1990s, and it is made evident in their lo-fi and low-key alternative rock. Higgins talk-sings his way through Cherry Blossom and the rest of the songs in a way that blends Gordon Gano, Stephen Malkmus, and John McCrea at its best, but sounds as if it was recorded in his sleep at its worst.
The fifteen songs of Fortune Metal range from the boisterous noise of Get a Load of THIS (Magic the Void) and the aptly named What the Fuck (Noise), to the instrumental explorations of Criteria, Dreaming of You, Waltz, and Love You. The band make it a point to add fits of clamor sporadically throughout.
One of the album’s highlights to play on repeat is French Kiss, a quirky and endearing song of seduction that you’ll wish someone wrote with you in mind. Higgins quips lines like “Unbutton my buttons and lay me down to die / Black mascara dripping from the circles in your eye”; The perfect make-out jam for the lusty indie pop couple.
Fortune Metal concludes its 42-minute journey with its most candid and gripping track, Chaos. Soft guitar and tambourine lead into introspective and emotionally hopeless lyrics. The song proceeds into ghostly wails echoing behind the repeated droning of “the emptiness always finds its way back in.”
The music Ratigan produces here is always understated and blissfully haphazard, but never dull. Unrefined and earnest, Fortune Metal proves to be an ambitious first full length for Ratigan.