The Rumble Strips write songs about being poor and wishing for more. They’re young, cockney, and catchy. And boy, are they good.
I first heard about the Tavistok, Devon, England, band back in my NME subscription days. Yes, I was the nerdy American boy trying to be cool by having a (very expensive) subscription to the very English NME in high school. They cover the very best (and some of the most derivative, but that’s just how indie rock goes, isn’t it?) of the skinny-white-boys-with-guitars bands genre, like my favorite, Arctic Monkeys, and also stuff like The Cribs and Razorlight — minor bands in the rock landscape, to be sure, but with a couple worthwhile songs to pass the time.
What stuck out about The Rumble Strips, fronted by Charlie Waller, is that they weren’t like the rest of those bands. Their use of horns with minimal guitar brought about visions of Beirut covering Dexy’s Midnight Runners B-sides. It’s odd stuff, but a hell of a lot better than another song built on an angular guitar riff.
Take this song, for instance. It’s called “Motorcycle” and it’s not about girls, money, or partying, as most indie rock is. It’s about wishing “this bike was a motorcycle” to get home faster. It’s entertaining and the video is very fun.