The Rumble Strips, ‘Girls and Weather’ (Gigantic)
Crushing angst gets a bright, shiny makeover at the hands of this British foursome. Powered by blaring horns reminiscent of vintage ska and soul, Charlie Waller could be Billy Bragg’s twitchy offspring, wailing with awesome fervor as he wallows in self-loathing (“No Soul”) and turns the simple act of watching the sky into a meditation on doomed romance (“Clouds”). The Rumble Strips are so contagiously charged up that it’s tempting to overlook their pathetic mind-set. When Waller exclaims, “The bells of doom are ringing,” he sounds like he’s entering party mode.