NPR logo The Rumble Strips and a Tipsy Wake-Up Call

The Rumble Strips and a Tipsy Wake-Up Call

Alarm Clock

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Friday's Pick

  • Song: "Alarm Clock"
  • Artist: The Rumble Strips
  • CD: Alarm Clock EP
  • Genre: Indie-Rock
The Rumble Strips 300

Raw skills can't hide the witty, warm and inviting soul in The Rumble Strips' songs. Courtesy of The Rumble Strips hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of The Rumble Strips

The Rumble Strips' music sounds lifted from an era when seven-inch singles were the norm and post-punk British bands approximated old soul records using a limited skill set. Those R&B-inspired rock tunes sounded just wrong enough to emerge as something new and very right.

Singer-songwriter Charlie Waller evokes the passionate yowl of XTC's Andy Partridge and Dexys Midnight Runners' Kevin Rowland, and he sings of the usual stuff: Girls and Weather, as The Rumble Strips' debut CD title indicates. But he's also a bright wit, as on "Alarm Clock."

The song finds Waller wanting to smash his nagging (and seemingly anthropomorphic) alarm clock, because it won't stop urging him to get out of bed and find a job: "Well, I don't like doing things / that other folks tell me to do / So I hit him with a hammer / and now he's quite subdued."

As Waller fights the urge to join the rat race with the aid of a manically strummed guitar, sax-and-trumpet blasts animatedly back up his decision to lay low. If the English band sounds slightly tipsy, that may well be because it is. Raw skills, however, can't hide the witty, warm and inviting soul in The Rumble Strips' songs.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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