Who? Frontman and lead songwriter Charlie Waller dreamed of being in a band since the first time he saw his uncle onstage in a leather jacket. After moving to London for art school, he reunited with three former schoolmates from his hometown of Tavistock, England -- Tom Gorbutt (sax/vocals/bass), Henry Clark (trumpet/piano) and Matthew Wheeler (drums) -- and the Rumble Strips started making some noise. After all, the band takes their name from those bumps on the sides of highways designed to keep drivers from falling asleep at the wheel and veering off the road. After a handful of U.K. singles and tours with the likes of the Young Knives and Dirty Pretty Things, the Alarm Clock EP goes off stateside Nov. 27 via Kanine, accompanied by a U.S. tour.
What's the Deal? Though they have been compared to the Fratellis and Dexy's Midnight Runners, Waller cites his chief influences as Lou Reed and Adam & the Ants. The EP's title track is a blood-pumping, frantic wail about the agonies of the rat race, inspired by Waller's time as a painter and decorator trying to make ends meet in London. "No Soul" ironically demonstrates the depth of Waller's vocal abilities, beginning as an apologetic lament accompanied only by Gorbutt's sax, until Wheeler kicks in on the drums and the tune transforms into almost three minutes of fast-paced, glorious, unabashed revelry ("All I do is try / Try to make you cry / Kick you in the shins / I'll poke you in the eye!). Fans of the Arctic Monkeys can't miss the ridiculously catchy chorus of "My Oh My" (complete with handclaps!), and the soul-ska take on the Thin Lizzy classic "The Boys are Back in Town" might just knock your Converse low-tops clean off.
Fun Fact: Before joining the Rumble Strips, trumpet player/pianist Henry Clark worked as an undertaker. Clark preferred picking up bodies to working at funerals, he thought it was more interesting. His worst experience on the job? Getting a ticket for running a red light at 12 mph during a funeral procession.ï¿½
Now Hear ThisThe Rumble Strips ï¿½ "Alarm Clock" DOWNLOAD MP3
Talk: Which would you rather wake up to: the Rumble Strips or an "Alarm Clock?"