Track Review: Rat Tally – “Shrug”

Posted: by The Editor

At the tail end of November 2019, Addy Harris dropped one of the year’s most impressive debuts. The five songs that comprise When You Wake Up are absolutely stellar; Rat Tally, Harris’ moniker, deals in lovelorn indie-rock ballads that recall the slightly folksier moments of The Weakerthans’ discography perhaps. Like The Weakerthans, too, one of Rat Tally’s biggest draws is deceptively simple lyrics; lyrics that are honest enough for anyone to relate, but still personal enough to sting. While there’s no sign of a follow-up yet, Rat Tally has signed with 6131 Records, fittingly one of the most underappreciated labels around, and has put out a brand new single.

“Shrug” is a natural next step for Rat Tally. It begins as a more lo-fi song, with just Harris’ vocals and a guitar before the full band comes in. this time, though, Harris is backed by pianos and strings too, rounding out the track in ways she’s not attempted before. As with her previous EP, though, the focus here is on Harris’ lyrics.

Lines like “I’ll hide you in the darkest parts of me” are straightforward enough not to need too much parsing, but open enough to fit to any listener’s life; the song’s closing plea, “I hope that helps,” is resigned and heartbreaking for its simplicity, and Harris’ delivery of the lyric throbs with a desperate honesty that makes it all the more affecting. It’s hard to think of a better single than “Shrug” to hopefully introduce Rat Tally to a bigger audience. She’s one of indie rock’s best-kept secrets at the moment, but with songs like this, it’s hard to imagine she’ll stay that way long. 

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

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