Having previously seen and been extremely impressed by the alternative pop duo that are Thumpers in February, I was eagerly anticipating the arrival of their debut album ‘Galore.’ The band have been teasing fans by releasing snippets of the album on social media as part of their ’30 Days of Galore’ movement. Luckily for me, the wait was cut short by the arrival of an advance copy of the album in the Exeposé office.
The album itself is something of an enigma. A handful of its tracks are triumphs, whilst others fade away into irrelevance. Its hard to escape the feeling that ‘Galore’ is more a collection of individual songs as opposed to an album, something which makes it hard to resist the temptation to simply skip to the more enjoyable tracks and leave the ‘padding’ out.
This being said, it’s difficult to listen to ‘Galore’ and not enjoy oneself. The opening track ‘Marvel’, however, is definitely one of the more irrelevant songs; seemingly unsure if its role is merely to serve as an introduction, or whether it is a standalone song in its own right. Nevertheless, the album bursts into life with around midway through debut single ‘Dancing’s Gone’, a joyous infusion of fast- paced vocals, dreamy synths and spangling guitar rifts.
This exuberance and energy is carried over to ‘Sound of Screams’ and ‘Unkinder (A Tougher Love)’, the album’s most impressive two tracks, which showcase a plethora of beats, lyrics and synths which could have been lifted straight off an early Everything Everything LP. The heavy use of percussion can be at times overbearing, but it is counterbalanced by the high-pitched vocals of Pepperell, Hamson and their backing vocalists, which make these two tracks perfect indie-sing-along anthems.
Unfortunately, the next track, ‘Come on Strong’, appears somewhat disjointed and feeble, as if the duo have exhausted themselves on the previous two numbers. Extending this breather, ‘Now We Are Sixteen’ slows the pace of the album down further; with the guest vocals of Elizabeth Sankey of Summer Camp making for a dreamy and soothing sound, bringing with it a sense of nostalgia and of mis-spent youth. It’s a well trodden path, but one which Thumpers excel at.
The album bursts back into life with the rather ironically named ‘Tame’, which sees the return of thumping drums and choir-esque vocals. This is swiftly followed by title track ‘Galore’, another of the album’s triumphs, although one which does feel at times a little overproduced and lacking in passion, but is hard not to enjoy nevertheless. More raw and distorted is the intro to ‘’The Wilder Wise’, but this again is lost as the chorus brings with it the now all too familiar shiny gleam of overproduction.
The remaining three tracks on the album comprise of the exceedingly irritating ‘Roller’, the rather dreary ‘Running Rope’ and the finale ‘Together Now’ which builds to an impressive instrumental crescendo after a slow start.
Unfortunately with ‘Galore’ it’s hard not to think about what could have been. The album is upbeat and catchy, and hard not to like. However, only a handful of the tracks are really inspiring, and many feel a little empty and soulless. It’s good clean fun, but it lacks ambition in places, perhaps trying to cover all bases when really it would have been better off trying to be a bit more raw and divisive. It feels almost as if Thumpers have tried to cater for everyone, and in doing so ended up producing something that’s slick and professional, but could have been so much more.