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UK band delivers smile-inducing,
yet rather forgettable pop songs

The Rumble Strips - Girls and Weather
(Gigantic Music)
2 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Aug. 26, 2008
The Rumble Strips

Review by Tony Bonyata

With an abounding, youthful shot of exuberance, the UK-based rock band The Rumble Strips have offered up something a little different to the indie-rock world on their debut effort Girls and Weather. Instead of taking their cue from countless other modern contemporaries, they've ditched the predominate use of guitar in favor of trumpet and saxophone - thus giving them a spark of ska, without really being a ska band.

While the British press have been comparing them to the '80s band Dexy's Midnight Runners (whose major hit was the infectious "Come On, Eileen") and even The Libertines from twenty years later, The Rumble Strips really don't sound anything like either. Sure both The Strips and Dexy's incorporate a small horn section, but the latter injected much more soul into their music. And while both The Libertines and The Rumble Strips have an unbridled sense of energy, these Devon lads never come close to touching the beautiful, scrappy punk of troubled musician Pete Doherty's former band, The Libertines.

With that said, however, the energy level alone on The Rumble Strips' first round carries the listener effortlessly from the punchy pop of the opener "No Soul" all the way to the closing track "Hands." In between the boys add some spirited folk strings to the catchy "Clouds," rev it up on the theatrical horn-drenched romp "Motorcycle" and add a happy-go-lucky, hand-clappy vibe on "Girls and Boys In Love." While some may complain that frontman Charlie Waller's guttural vocal delivery may be a trifle too glib, not to mention that the bulk of this effort comes off a bit too giddy for its own good, they've, thankfully, left the soppy ballads on the cutting room floor and have instead delivered a dozen smile-inducing - if not altogether memorable - songs that, at least, work for the moment.

Watch NME Video: The Rumblestrips track by track

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