Galore starts of fantastically. The clap-along percussion and twinkling production of “Marvel” makes for a gorgeous track that elicits the best of indie pop ebullience. “Dancing’s Done” graduates to stomp-along, and even has a cute guitar solo along Thumpers’ motor-mouth singing.
Then it explodes into a fucking catastrophe of indie clichés and ostentatious lyrics divorced from the realities of adolescence.
That percussion? Expect to hear it in every single song. The production? Sure, there are plenty of nuances going on in each track, but good luck hearing any of them over this Loudness War whore of record. It is so incredibly frustrating to hear an album with so much potential for subtly ruined by an utter lack of gradation. There are five billion twinkles in this album, and they’re not as endearing as Thumpers mean them to be.1 Most of these tracks are tricks Chvrches and the like more effectively pull off. The “homina-homina” of “Tame” is kind of cute and the track even has an electronic slide solo, but the former is a little too faux-indie.
Thumpers have the same problems Mumford & Sons: a bunch of upper-class white kids who put in enough references to love and the best times of life in attempt to elucidate how beautiful the world is at youth. Adolescence is hard2, and it is entirely ignored in favor of an unattainable idealization of perfect youthful romance. This is problematic because such a record is ostensibly marketed toward younger audiences, and they’re so… banal.
On this note, I would like to share a paragraph from my review for this album at MusicOMH in May of 2014:3
“Now We Are Sixteen” is very misguided. The lyric “everything seems better when we’re sixteen” is certainly a romantic idea, but to paraphrase James Murphy, when you remember the feelings of an overemotional teenager, you’ll likely think again. “Now We Are Sixteen” panders to a younger audience in a dangerous way by romanticizing the hardest parts of being young as being the most beautiful, which espouses a very immature view of growing up. It’s irresponsible, especially in 2014, and pressures youth by putting pressure on what is likely the hardest part of their then-lived life as the most perfect [or real], and how the loves you’ll have in life will pale to the first time. It’s a serious flaw and a black [mark] on Galore that shows Thumpers’ lack of experience and [lack of] songwriting maturity.4
It is important to tell adolescents that there is beauty to be found in those difficult years. The main problem with Galore is that Thumpers take it too far. There are neither qualifications of the album’s impassable happiness nor allusions toward harder aspects of youth. A far more effective album is one that talks about the hard times but gives youth an outlet. Thumpers only give the latter: all topic, no depth. There’s too much “everything’s great now!” with “Unkinder (A Tougher Love)” being a gross offender. It touches upon the issues of hard times making one better, but as stated before, it’s too banal to be effective in its intention.
There are three tracks that are decent. The first two mentioned in this review – “Marvel” and “Dancing’s Done” – and mid-album highlight “The Wilder Wise.” While still brickwalled, the production gives way to reverb that is effectively enveloping. The minor chords are a nice reprieve from the unbeatable euphoria of the previous seven tracks. It’s well done, and had the rest of the album followed suit, Galore would rate much higher.
While there is some decency, the overall score for this album remains very low, and that is due to the lack of self-awareness. Thumpers are so happy as to make one jaded, with full run-throughs leaving many tracks to sound like hackneyed retreads of ideas worn within the first four tracks. It’s a shame, because Thumpers hold potential. The duo have great voices, with enough Britishness to give an edge over their American counterparts in the genre. Indeed, many of the songs are very, very catchy, but with a shallowness that the obfuscating production metaphorically demonstrates. Owl City is a good analogue, with The Postal Service the respective contrast.
The song rating average would rate this higher than the one-and-a-half that I’m giving it. That is because, despite three good tracks, the way Thumpers deal with their subject matter is repulsive. There is no place for Galore today.5
1. Marvel – (2:38) – ★★★★★
2. Dancing’s Done – (3:17) – ★★★★☆
3. Sound of Screams – (3:45) – ★★☆☆☆
4. Unkinder (A Tougher Love) – (3:42) – ★☆☆☆☆
5. Come on Strong – (4:07) – ★★☆☆☆
6. Now We Are Sixteen – (4:30) – ☆☆☆☆☆6
7. Tame – (4:11) – ★★★☆☆
8. The Wilder Wise – (4:36) – ★★★★★
9. Roller – (3:27) – ★☆☆☆☆
10. Running Rope – (4:39) – ★★☆☆☆
11. Together Now – (5:22) – ★☆☆☆☆
1Although “Come on Strong” does pretty well.
2Source: I, too, was once sixteen.
3Edited for consistency and clarity. I like to think my writing has grown up a bit.
4“Thumpers – Galore | Album Reviews | MusicOMH,” MusicOMH, accessed 23 April 2015, http://www.musicomh.com/reviews/albums/thumpers-galore
6I really hate this song, so it gets zero stars for an utter and complete lack of recommendation in any context.
7So why do I have this album then? Well… I kinda hoped it would be better if I listened to it again. I do like those three tracks with rather high star ratings, and they warrant keeping in my music library. I also like to have some music I don’t like stored somewhere so that I have some reference when writing other reviews.