The Strumbellas - Rattlesnake
Across ‘Rattlesnakes’ nine tracks and thirty-two minutes, The Strumbellas condense their folk-pop dream into an album-of-the-year mission statement that doesn’t ring the bell as much as it knocks down the door between Canadian homeland success and world domination for a group who are as powerful at penning stadium-packing anthems as better-known peers The Lumineers and The Head & The Heart.
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In the three years between their third and fourth long-players, folk-poppers The Strumbellas have shaken off the shadows of despair that lurked throughout 2016’s ‘Hope’, fully embracing the joyful exuberance their sonic palette alluded to but never lyrically matched.

‘Rattlesnake’ is the sonic and stylistic evolution of a band who’ve always had a knack for writing songs filled with captions for sun-kissed boutique festival Instagram posts. It’s evolutionary albeit somewhat subtly; from thematically embracing the warmth of their charming summer nights folk-pop to sing songs of camaraderie, hope and love to soaking every song in the set in stadium-sized choruses that’ll have you singing along wherever you are.

‘Rattlesnake’ is perhaps best listened to as the diary of a summer’s night with friends; the drinks are flowing, the party is in motion, and the world is ours for the taking. From the anthemic synth-pop explosion of opener ‘Salvation’ to the keyboard-chiming fairy-light lit ‘One Hand Up,’ all the way to the sobering quiet-of-the night alt-country expression ‘The Party’; The Strumbellas soundtrack the summer with the songs you’ve been searching for.

It’s the gentle paintbrush strokes that flesh out the details of ‘Rattlesnake’ that puts The Strumbellas newest material on a pedestal. Such as the honey-soaked harmonic interplay between the band, particularly between frontman Simon Ward and resident noise-maker Isabel Ritchie, highlighted most poignantly on sunsetting album closer ‘All My Life.’

Throughout ‘Rattlesnake,’ you’re delivered the impression that vocalist Simon Ward and his friends have been through some life-changing moments in their private lives in the last three years as the hope running through the albums veins is an optimistic breath of fresh air in comparison to their often-pessimistic ramblings on life. On ‘One Hand Up,’ Ward proudly proclaims, “it’ll change your life, it’ll change your life’, and there’s a sense of sincerity amongst the funky basslines and groovy keys, a symbolisation of love and hope from the frontman. This suspicion becomes ever more apparent on centrepiece ‘We All Need Someone’ when Ward sings “We all need laughter when life gets hard; we all need someone to love us for who we are.” If anything, these lyrics leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling you can’t shake for days.

Whilst there’s not a single song below brilliant on ‘Rattlesnake,’ ‘I’ll Wait’ is single-handedly The Strumbellas best song so far; acoustic plucking meets rising strings as gentle keys unfurl, exploding into the foot-stomping percussion-thumping chorus that’ll catch you singing every time: “I’ll wait, I’ll wait to be the one, to catch you when you’re falling; always, always I’ll be the one, to answer when you’re calling.” It’s two-minutes and fifty-six seconds of blissful indie-folk perfection that defines the band.

Across ‘Rattlesnakes’ nine tracks and thirty-two minutes, The Strumbellas condense their folk-pop dream into an album-of-the-year mission statement that doesn’t ring the bell as much as it knocks down the door between Canadian homeland success and world domination for a group who are as powerful at penning stadium-packing anthems as better-known peers The Lumineers and The Head & The Heart.

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