Just trying to make life more epic...
Welcome To the Walk alone

I had my cynical instincts set to ‘stun’ when approaching this record – The Rumble Strips are, after all, far too immaculate for their own good. They’re like the soundtrack to some utopian Cliff Richard movie, where blue-eyed surfers fall in love, get married, then hold a self-conscious beach party full of grinning idiots.

Damn the five-piece, then, for (almost) winning me over. ‘Raindrops’ and ‘London’ in particular host the kind of choruses Tom Jones would soil his dignity for. Frontman Charlie Waller’s voice is tender throughout, complementing both the arrangements (exquisite) and his band (match fit).

The record feels like a sequence of movie scenes from start to finish: opener ‘The Walk Alone’ could accompany footage of Sean Connery as 007, perving on bikini-clad women outside a hotel pool. ‘London’ sounds like the merry-go-round scene from Mary Poppins – milk, cookies and vomit inducing innocence. ‘Running on Empty’ goes a bit ‘Greased Lightning’, but still makes it home in time for supper.

As you’ve probably noticed, a lot of these references come not only from the 1960s, but the slightly goodie-two-shoes end of the 1960s. I’m not suggesting that the ‘Strips need to get in touch with their inner Altamont, but even the more heartbroken moments in the record sound like they were composed with a PG certificate in mind.

And while we’re on a slightly damning note, it’s worth noting that both ‘Daniel’ and ‘Back Bone’ sound like Mistys Big Adventure without the jokes –and therefore they fall flat on their arses.

But the kind of people who could stay mad at The Rumble Strips are the kind of people who would happily flush a living hamster down the loo – i.e., utter bastards. Because, ultimately, they’re just a bunch of optimistic lads trying to make life a little bit more epic. And to be fair, they do it bloody well.


Words: Ric Rawlins

The Rumble Strips - 'Not The Only Person'


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