Ricky and the Hats
By Simon Primarolo
For the life of me I can’t help but associate this band with soda stream, that iconic carbonator of the drinks trade. Both plying effervescent over-coatings of colour and oomph; they in turn exude a zippety-zestness that’s an instant head-swinging, lip-curler designed to make the hairs on your teeth curl.
Often described as British as fish ‘n chips and a pint of beer, RATH, as they are commonly known, slap straight into their tunes with a self-proclaimed ‘dirty whisky-cheeky-charm’ delivered vocally by Ricky Charles in a south-east London twang that has any two-bob-a caulie market trader running for their money. Rosanna Colclogh joins in with rangy soulful accompaniment to share the buoyant lyrics, lending with it a tangy compliment for the perfect mix. Add a splash of Scotty Watson on guitar in a funky, reggae slice, and you’ve got what is essentially an explosion of ska, pop-beat poetry.
‘Pubside Manner’ was my first introduction to them at the Hop Farm Festival, UK, and within seven seconds I found the perfect tonic to a proper old party livener. ‘Geezer’ followed suit with its equably fast tracked spoken word that keeps the ears pinned to every phrase, And if ‘The Streets’, from their newly released EP ‘Streets’ reminds you of Mike Skinner and ‘The Streets’ then you’ve worked out the manner of their influences.
Together since December 2012, their clout is as infectious as their up-tempo street word lyrics pout, with every careful deliberated pause cradling a comedic edge, which is just as well, because here lies their goal; being fun with music, words and the audience. They simply are captivating and not in a creepy ‘fun for all the family’ kind of way.
They hold, as noted by the judges at the 2013 Open Mic UK, where they were runners-up, ‘excellent chemistry, exciting, enjoyable and infectious’. From this humble beginning they scooped category award winners from Root 1, with the ‘best original song award’ in ‘Sunny Weather’. From here they have gone on to perform at prolific industry events such as London Rocks. Yet their talents lie in a broad stroke of the arts from music and ballet dancing to writing jingles for comedians at the Edinburgh festival and if that isn’t enough, Rosanna is currently performing in a TV show – music, comedy, writing, ballet, that just about covers them, and well I suppose, hats.