Thumpers, Galore (out now, Sub Pop, thumpers.co)
In just an eight-word Twitter bio—“POP IN THE SOUL & EXPERIMENTAL IN FORM”—London-based duo Thumpers has nailed the description of its sound. Its debut, Galore, is bright and poppy, with big, sing-along-ready choruses and colorful keys, but it’s also more than a few steps off the beaten path with songs like “Tame,” which begins with what sounds like someone breathing heavily to the beat, features a chant-like chorus, and ends with a guitar riff manipulated to sound almost like a bagpipe. Thumpers was formed in 2011, but Marcus Pepperell (vocals, guitar, and piano) and John Hamson Jr. (vocals, bass, and drums) came from indie-rock trio Pull Tiger Tail, and have been playing together since their teens. The duo finds lyrical inspiration in those coming-of-age years—for example, the slower, reflective “Now We Are Sixteen,” which includes London-based indie-pop duo Summer Camp, call-and-response vocals, and lyrics like, “Everything seems better when we’re 16.” There’s a communal sense to Galore ’s layers of sound and the group vocals on several songs, including the aptly named closer “Together Now.” The duo also made the album, produced by David Kosten (Bat for Lashes, Everything Everything), a family affair, with siblings contributing to the recording process, including additional vocals from Pepperell’s sisters on the bouncy “Unkind (A Tougher Love).” Thumpers, which signed to Sub Pop in September and opened for Scottish electro-pop band Chvrches in the fall, has made a joyful first statement with Galore, an album bound to make the band’s U.S. debut a strong one.