The Sewer Rats - Magic Summer (Cover Artwork)

The Sewer Rats

Magic Summer (2020)

Prorawk records

I want to start this review off by stating my disappointment with myself for not previously being familiar with the Sewer Rats. I have heard the name for a few years but failed to take a listen. For those also unfamiliar, the band hails from Cologne, Germany and plays a healthy mix of 90s pop punk with the 50s sound. On Magic Summer the Sewer Rats deliver what I would call a true pop punk album. Hints of various punk sub genres are present to make for a short but sweet listen.

The band kicks off the album with “Rejuvenate” that is a fun song about how skateboarding keeps you young. This is a true skate rock song that pays homage mostly to NOFX musically. Solid riffs and backing vocals make this a solid opening track. The Sewer Rats kick into full pop punk mode on “I’m Quitting My Job” that follows. This tells the tale of wanting to go on tour with your band. This sweet as sugar track features multi-layered vocals that add to the catchiness. “I Don’t Wanna Go To The Dentist No More” is a mid-tempo track complete with enough “whoas” to please fans of Teenage Bottlerocket. The Sewer Rats take a more Ramonescore approach on “I Don’t Wanna Go To The Shrink No More.” This track contains many quick chord changes on this rocker. “My Sweet Chun-Li” could have easily been a commercial alternative radio hit in the States in the 90s. This track boasts catchy guitar leads and perfect rhyming lyrical patterns. Andrea from the Manges lends backing vocals as well. The Sewer Rats pick up the pace again with “Nasty Cut.” The next track “My Baby Is At Groezrock (And I Am Not)” is the catchiest track on the album. This sing along track will be stuck in your head for days. The band returns to the classic 90s pop punk sound on “Total Creep” which follows. One can hear hints of early Lillingtons on this track. The band returns to true Ramonescore on “Choice.” The alt rock sound comes around again on “I Don’t Wanna Leave My Room No More” which could have been on a teen movie soundtrack. This is a slower track that features a heavy guitar sound. Killer backing vocals are also present in the outro. “Down For Life” showcases the band’s ability to write a perfect skate rock song that would have fit on any early Fat Wreck Chords release. This song has strong verses with palm muted guitars over a solid bassline. “Magic Summer” closes out the album. This 50s rocker starts out with Social Distortion-like riffage before going into a garage and surf style reminiscent of the Queers.

The Sewer Rats have effectively showcased their versatility in Magic Summer. It is quite a feat to pull off so many sounds and styles in under 30 minutes. Make no mistake about it. This is a pop punk album. There is no doubt that the band listened to a healthy dose of skate and classic punk in the formative years of the band. My only complaint of this release is that its over before you know it. I look forward to digging back through this band’s catalog.