Birmingham’s indie rockers Rookie return with the energy boost we all need right now

Caitlin Hyem
3 min readDec 13, 2022

Three words… What. A. Banger.

Credit: Rookie

Birmingham’s indie quartet Rookie have just released an adrenaline-boosting, high-octane, indie-rock anthem. And I’m certain it will be one of 2021’s greatest tracks!

Since forming in 2017, Rookie have worked hard to finesse their trademark sound, taking influences from Green Day and Catfish and The Bottlemen.

The lads are now back with their fifth single and it’s their strongest release yet!

‘Criminally Underrated’, produced by Roy Stride (Scouting for Girls) and Alex Oldroyd, radiates confidence and enthusiasm from the get-go.

It ticks all the boxes to qualify as a perfect indie anthem. It’s catchy. It’s intense. And it’s fantastic for belting out at the top of your lungs.

The track catapults into action with soaring guitar riffs and roaring volcanic energy.

Rookie have adapted the phrase “go hard or go home”. With the help of their new single, you can go hard at home. ‘Criminally Underrated’ is the energetic boost we all need right now.

The new single is based on a conversation between two friends who share a love for a new artist and explores the thrill of seeing that artist perform live for the first time. This narrative is one I’m sure we can all relate to in some way as it conjures up precious gig memories.

Frontman Joe Webster’s love for music is crystal clear through his passionate vocals.

Not only are the lyrics charismatic, but they’ll also stick a smile on your face with lines like “you are perfection, but needed attention, of someone like Scarlett Johansson”.

“(You’re so) criminally underrated
(Thank God) you caught me when I fainted.
You are perfection, but needed attention,
Of someone like Scarlett Johansson” — Rookie

‘Criminally Underrated’ will forever attract listeners with its festival-sized choruses, ignited by vigorous cases of call and response. To provide the lyrics with a feisty foundation, Tom Owen plays funky guitar melodies over riotous drum thrashing by Jimmy Hearn. And Mitch Elliot adds a whole load of groove with his intricate bass lines, reminding me of those by the legendary Andy Rourke (The Smiths).

Constantly exuding swagger, attitude and adrenaline, the single has similar vibes to Reverend and The Makers’ anthemic masterpiece, ‘Heavyweight Champion of The World’. It is one of those songs where even full volume struggles to do it justice.

​Dancing and singing along to this manic musical whirlwind are currently the next best things to being at a gig.

If you can’t wait for gigs to come back before you can see Rookie, you can watch them perform an acoustic set on Sunday 7th February. The livestream will begin at 3pm on Sucker’s Facebook page.

​Until then, let’s make sure this infectious indie anthem doesn’t become criminally underrated by giving it the Scarlett-Johansson-level-of-attention it deserves.

To listen to ‘Criminally Underrated’ on Spotify, click here.

This review was originally published on Alternative Atmosphere in January 2021.

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Caitlin Hyem

Trainee journalist at the University of Salford. Presenter of Alternative Airwaves. Founder of Alternative Atmosphere. Words: Inspo Daily and Mancunian Matters.