Record Label: Sub Pop
Remember back in 2005-2007 when any indie band that so much as glanced at a synth or wore colourful clothes were instantly bequeathed the tag of ‘nu-rave’? Pull Tiger Tail were one of those acts lumped into this hodge podge genre that turned out to have the longevity akin to one of Kim Jong Un’s uncles. Rather appropriately PTT used to share a house with the godfathers of nu-rave, Klaxons. PTT’s lifespan was short and quickly dissolved after tangles with management and their record label. Out of the embers of their former outfit, Marcus Pepperell and John Harrison formed Thumpers and with it any nu-rave preconceptions have been brushed off for a quirky pop sound that makes up the spine of their debut LP Galore.
The duo’s first effort for Sub Pop channels a joyful warmth and a pleasant skip that shuffles along at a carefree pace but one that also lacks conviction or any real lasting impression. It’s an album that is impossible to hate but on the flipside falling head over heels is another challenging task. Thumpers convey a sonic palette that bears little in the way of hallmarks, the pair somehow occupy that middle ground between The xx and Alt-J and the carnival pop charm of Friendly Fires.
If you were to meet Galore at a party, it would be the person standing on the edge of conversations, wanting to be involved with the revelry but always a little too cautious about taking the initial plunge. Take ‘Come On Strong’ for example, this is a track that twinkles and bristles with pent up energy, however this tension never manifests to anything tangible. The same tepid response rears up with ‘Running Rope’ although the volume levels are increased, there’s nothing to latch onto that means this nugget never leaves a lasting impression on your consciousness.
When Galore does brave the wilds from outside its comfort zone, the LP wriggles with pleasing charm, ‘The Wilder Wise’ injects some much needed assertiveness to Thumpers’ sound, with vocalist Pepperell replacing the tuneful murmur he possess through most of Galore for a full bodied vocal ranging on the anthemic. Equally Hamson’s drumming quickens the heart, flicking the switch to something more urgent. Percussion and drums are the cornerstone of ‘Roller’, another moment on Galore that hints at a more beat driven, inventive side. Both of these specimens stick out as being tracks that break off the insipid shackles around the twosome’s LP, allowing Thumpers’ body of work room to roam freely and confidently.
Galore doesn’t live up to its abundant title; pleasantly scant or limited pleasure would suit Thumpers’ first outing more.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams