The Psychotic Reaction - Rumble
Liam McGrady 00/00/0000
Despite the “livewire” connotations of this bands chosen moniker, what actually pervades across the 14 tracks of 'Rumble' is a decidedly lo-fi aesthetic. Scratchy guitar riffs, laid back charm and rough and ready recording techniques are what's on offer here.
I could definitely do without the opening of 'Godfrey's Grave' with its irritating slide guitar and banjo tomfoolery, but after this, the band get properly into their stride. 'What's Under The Stairs?” is like a less manic Eighties Matchbox B- Line Disaster, mixed up with some Coral-like weirdness, while album highlight 'Cocoon' trundles along with a mesmerizing feel and the touching, yet eerie “Jarvis” type vocals from Alex Williams (“Put you on a pedestal, from where you mustn't ever fall/Keep you in a cushioned cage, believe me it's safer that way”). Off-kilter lounge Pop would probably sum it up best.
They've definitely got a way with words, this lot. You get fear of mortality on the dense, harmonica driven 'I'm Not Ready Yet' (“Here it is, another un-explained twinge, a willow the wisp under my skin/Write it down in case I die in my sleep, write it down for my next of kin”) as well as small town angst on the appropriately named 'It's A Small Town'. In fact this is another highlight. Rolling drums and a sparse - fewer notes the better - riff carry the song gently forward while Alex does his Morrissey bit (“would you remember that time by the disused railway line, when I thought that I read your mind” and “Familiarity breeds contempt, and all those plans got spent/Now I'm living just to pay the rent, I'm festering in Kent”). With the sugary sweet female backing vocals, it's not unlike a slice of Belle & Sebastian type genius.
So although there are some maybe not so hot tracks (like the curiosity that is 'A Beautiful Hypothesis Destroyed By An Ugly Fact', which hinges around muffled techno beats and muttered backwards vocals), 'Rumble' provided me with one of the most engaging listening experiences in quite a while.