August 7, 2008

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The Rumble Strips, Girls and Weather
Gigantic Records, June 17

Any album that can get a Scrooge like me to decide to take the day off during the first listen should get your vote. True story, too. The soul/pop-tinged ska of this British band’s first album forces one to remember that no matter what, in real life, you can drop everything and slum on the beach in Hawaii until fortune decides to give you a break. Rumble Strips would appear to live on a strict diet of girl-group Motown, J Geils, Madness and Mighty Mighty Bosstones, only exposing themselves to Art Brut because a little sacrilegious anti-hipness is a WMD in this market — Brut has turned the concept of stupid lyrics into quantum physics, which the Strips leverage in the faux-bombastic “Motorcycle” and the Vampire Weekend-like “Clouds” (wherein the line “I’m lying on my back, looking at the clouds” gets shoved up your right nostril until you realize that that’s what you should be doing, right here, right now, just pull over). Oldschool Geils is stamped all over the piano-bouncing “Girls and Boys in Love,” “Alarm Clock” is straight-up Bosstones ska, “Oh Creole” slaps Van Morrison around. AEric W. Saeger