To step into the world of Thumpers, the London duo made up of Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jn., is like stepping straight into a scene in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, a land where reality and fiction collide and you are taken on a journey where nothing is quite what it seems. ‘Talk to me in the forest’, Pepperell sings, ‘run into the river at night’.
Sometimes it sounds like Thumpers are on the edge of bursting out into a full scale musical, exploding with every kind of instrument and brimming with layers and layers of harmonised vocals. You can even start to envisage it on stage: a colourful backdrop with of a bunch of people doing some synchronised dance while being rained on by multi-coloured confetti as they grin like a Cheshire Cat… sometimes, just as you start to imagine the finer details of this fictional musical, Thumpers manage to pull their sound back from going that bit too cheesy, that bit too much. But sometimes they don’t. ‘Roller’ is one of those times when they went that bit too far and, in turn, sounds like the soundtrack of a Primary school play.
Some songs are brilliant and full of bouncy hooks which stick to you like glue. ‘Galore’, the song the début album is named after, is unsurprisingly one of their best. With radio plays from BBC Radio 1 and XFM, it planted the Thumpers sound on a nationwide level for the first time. ‘Dancing’s Done’, ‘Sound of Screams’ and ‘Unkinder’ also bring on a nostalgic glow of carefree afternoons in the sun and sets the rest of the album up for similar greatness. But then the album progresses and you feel more and more reluctant to forgive the weak songs on the album because, in truth, they make up half of it. Thumpers just fail to connect or empathise.
Galore should have been an echo of the past and childlike themes, but instead it is more of a reflection – it’s essentially youthful, playful pop that hasn’t quite grown-up and flown from the nest – instead, it still lives at home, playing on Halo 3 while eating Mum’s cooking. The right intentions are all there but Thumpers haven’t managed to distinguish between sounding playful and sounding fit for the playground.