The Rumblestrips - Girls and Weather

Paul Cook 01/08/2007

Rating: 3/5

Having observed this band bang their drum and blow their trumpets a few times the Rumblestrips' debut album is somewhat of an anti-climax. There are some great bits and pieces to the album but there's also a lot of filler. Where a song would benefit from an abrupt or even unfinished end it doesn't. Instead Charlie Waller's voice struggles to keep up and sounds closer to a strained live performance than a studio-recorded track. Live, this band is extremely exciting and this often goes a long way to showing that effort and passion does pay off. However, this isn't conveyed clearly enough in a majority of the tracks on the album leaving it feeling slightly shallow and a little rushed to the shelves.

A few of the tracks are obvious crowd pleasers with infectious chorus-lines and electrifying tempo. The already established “Alarm Clock” is a pleasant and energetic sax-laden tune with a typically rolling drum pace and trumpet stabs to boot. The lyrics however are a tad generic with little else to offer other than a sack-load of “Oh no's”. “ooh's” and “ah's.” The instrumentals on the album are surprisingly normal. One might have expected, after gaining a reputation for being such an original, quirky band, the most satisfying sounds come from the more delicate and even lesser used instruments, like that of the mandolin used in 'Clouds.” Minus the repetitive and frankly unimaginative lyrics 'Clouds' demonstrates a creative and alternative potential from the Devonshire four-piece.

On occasions this band come frightfully close to brilliance before somehow managing to bulk the album out and bore the listener into hitting the next or eject button. Musically 'Girls and Weather' is a refreshing burst of frenetic and joyous breakneck tracks. Whether it is the lyrics or just the person singing them there is something that remains too odd about the vocals. A scream here and a cry there are a great accompaniment to music with so much energy but when that's all that saturate the soundscape it is difficult to feel anything other than irritation. 'Don't Dumb Down' has that same catchiness about it as 'Hate Me (You Do)” and “Alarm Clock” with just a few too many “Oh No's” rendering it useless for repeat listening.

Forthcoming release 'Girls and Boys in Love' is fantastic, again with the instrumentals delicately bouncing off one another with vigour. The vocals here are fitting and well executed and with the screeching left behind in 'Building a Boat', quite possibly the most unnecessarily monotonous track on the whole record, 'Girls and Boys in Love' is an endearing story of young love and loss. The opener 'No Soul' is far from what you might expect from such a hyper, energetic band. A truly disappointing way to start the album as it deflates the listener before the record's even in full swing.

Unfortunately the subject matter of this album has about as much shelf life as it's fellow market competitors. The Rumblestrips clearly have a lot to learn about the importance of music with meaning rather than just simplistic and somewhat quite commercially driven substance. A band with more potential and spark than they know what to do with, The Rumblestrips' second, follow up album, with a touch more maturity and thought might be a stunning sequel to a dissatisfying debut.

Release Date: 27th August 2007