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The Rumble Strips - Girls & Weather

The Rumble Strips, Girls & Weather

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

THE Rumble Strips have been enjoying a pretty phenomenal 2007 that looks set to be capped by the release of this very appealing debut album, Girls & Weather.

Spearheaded by singles like Alarm Clock, Motorcycle and current hit Girls And Boys In Love (from the Run, Fat Boy, Run soundtrack), there’s enough buzz about the band to suggest they’ll make good on their potential with a sizeable chart success.

And yet Girls & Weather isn’t always the complete article. Some songs tend to fade from the memory a little too quickly and lack the instant accessibility or lasting appeal of their biggest hits so far.

Needless to say, the strongest tracks include the singles that effectively showcase their ability to deliver songs that are steeped with huge, life-affirming choruses built around thundering drums and piano, plenty of brass to stir the soul and singer Charlie Waller’s oh-so distinct vocals.

Girls & Boys In Love, in particular, stands out as a shimmering, feel-good summer anthem that’s quintessentially British and perfectly conjures images of girls and boys on the beach, in the park, or hanging around outside pubs.

But Alarm Clock is another winner, a foot-stomping spectacular that brilliantly recalls the band’s love of 1950s doo-wop. It’s destined to become a classic.

Motorcycle, meanwhile, is awash with the optimism of youth, as evidenced by lyrics such as “if only this bike was a motorcycle, I’d be over halfway home”. It’s simple but breathtakingly effective, complete with another winning mix of brass and percussion.

There’s a very definite Van Morrison feel surrounding the old-school sound of Oh Creole, another instant hit, and Clouds is another one to sweep you away to a carefree kind of place (“I’m lying on my back, looking at the clouds”) while yearning for the type of summer day that might allow you to indulge the fantasy.

It’s just that with some tracks, there’s a sense that The Rumble Strips may struggle to escape a signature sound if they’re not careful – much like Scouting For Girls.

Songs like Time and Building A Boat are perfectly OK but they fail to stand out on their own and feel like album fillers.

Fortunately, they come back strong to deliver a big finish in the form of the Talking Heads-esque Hands, to ensure that the hype surrounding them is entirely justified.

Download picks: Motorcycle, Alarm Clock, Girls & Boys In Love, Oh Creole, Clouds

Track listing:

  1. No Soul
  2. Alarm Clock
  3. Building A Boat
  4. Girls And Boys In Love
  5. Oh Creole
  6. Motorcycle
  7. Time
  8. Clouds
  9. Don’t Dumb Down
  10. Cowboy
  11. Hate Me (You Do)
  12. Hands