The Rumble Strips / Answering Machine - 53 Degrees Preston - 4.11.07

Manchester four piece Answering Machine has a singer with a Beatles haircut whose vocal style, while a touch whiny, is very unique. "Tomorrow" has the frontman come over all confrontational with his megaphone outburst but the song's not terribly exciting and a tad inoffensive. The band are surprised by how quiet the crowd are throughout their set. Designer Magazine can see some raw potential in The Answering Machine as "Day In Day out" with it's Peter Hook style bass line and heavy sound with harmonies is an absolute classic piece of songwriting from the band.

Wide eyed frontman of The Rumble Strips Charlie Waller whose batter old acoustic guitar is strummed so ferociously that it's not long until a string is broken looks like the kind of male model you'd see posing in a catalogue. With his band The Rumble Strips who hail from deepest Devon, their successful mix of ska, rock'n'roll and even jazz has endeared them to the make of hit romantic comedy movie Run Fatboy Run with their single "Girls And Boys". Their escapades at SXSW festival in Texas led to arrests and drinking competitions amidst all the music industry schmoozing. They did manage to record their debut album "Girls And Weather" in LA relatively unscathed though.

Having toured with Dirty Pretty Things and a permanent fixture on the festival circuit, this is a headline tour of their very own. With the spirit of Dexys Midnight Runners and the jaunty eccentricity of vintage Madness and lines like "ain't got no soul" the passion and emotion is genuinely effective. There's not one bad track throughout the whole set and "Don't Dumb Down" and "Alarm Clock" are worth the ticket price alone with a pop hook and catchy chorus never short in demand.

So with brass, guitars, keyboards and a magnificent rhythm section The Rumble Strips give everything they've got to a surprisingly disappointingly poor turn out who appreciate fine music when they hear it and any band who had the courage to close with a brilliant ska fused cover of Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town" will always receive a hearty recommendation from us.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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