Thumpers

Galore

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AllMusic Review by

The neatly primped pop of U.K. duo Thumpers took shape when boyhood friends Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson, Jr. started exchanging song ideas via e-mail around 2011. It was only a matter of time before a few of these ideas congealed into early tracks like the otherworldly swaggering anthem "Unkinder (A Tougher Love)" and the glitchy vocal hooks of "Sound of Screams." Both these tracks are highlights of Thumpers' debut full-length, Galore, but far from the only prime material on what ends up being a consistently solid collection of densely layered and sophisticated pop. The strength of many of these songs is their propensity for movement, never content to sit still or adhere to any predictable song structures. The gloriously weird "Come on Strong," for instance, begins with understated guitar plinks and Bowie-esque backing vocals woofing out a bassline that quickly gives way to a series of quick changes to song key, instrumentation, and emotional push, landing back where it began in just four short minutes. It's a meticulous studio construction that borders on some kind of prog pop without ever getting too conceptual or technical for its own good. Thumpers manage to tuck a wide scope of ideas and sounds into their songs without ever feeling too overbearing or crowded. The slinky "Now We Are Sixteen," featuring guest vocals by Summer Camp, even manages to sound pleasantly minimal, though its rhythms are propped up by ample clouds of harmony vocals and icy electronics. Constructed with flawlessness in mind, Galore succeeds in its ability to sound intensely produced and polished but never sterile. The same strong heartbeat that makes acts like Dirty Projectors, Phoenix, Suckers, and the like equally human and precise beats inside Thumpers' best songs as well.

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