Rumble Strips – London (Universal/Island)

May 5, 2009 by  


London is the latest release from everyone’s favourite country loons The Rumble Strips. Available now as a free download on the band’s official website, it’s a preview of the eagerly awaited second album. And a bit of a worrier it is too.

Over-produced and under-thought, it fails to include almost anything that makes The Rumble Strips so exciting to listen to. Blame producer Mark Ronson. Waller’s voice is as unique and piercing as ever, yet it seems to stay firmly in the comfort zone, a feeling emphasized by the very weak “whoa whoa whoa” chorus.
Also conspicuous in their absence are the vibrant horn and sax touches. The beautifully crazy riffs that made Hate Me (You Do) so listenable have been replaced by a subdued backing melody played over some fairly forgettable lyrics.

Perhaps I?m expecting too much of a talented band. London is bouncy and inoffensive, with rolling drums that are crisp and well judged. It would be perfectly at home as the fourth track on a large album. But as a taste of things to come it fails to fire any anticipation. In fact, the first official single, released in June, is going to have to be something special to dispel a real sense of foreboding…


By Liam Clune