The Strumbellas – Rattlesnake (Album Review)

the strumbellas - The Strumbellas - Rattlesnake (Album Review)

The Strumbellas – Rattlesnake (Album Review)

strumbellas - The Strumbellas - Rattlesnake (Album Review)One of the emerging flag bearers of the relatively new sub-genre of Alternative Country known as Pastoral Pop are The Strumbellas, whose penchant for sunny, melodic, chant-laden, singalong songs is unwavering. Now they are set to return with their fourth overall full-length album, Rattlesnake, on Friday, March 29th. 

Formed in in 2008, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, The Strumbellas are Simon Ward (vocals, guitar), David Ritter (vocals, keyboards), Jon Hembrey (lead guitar), Isabel Ritchie (violin), Darryl James (bass), and Jeremy Drury (drums). The sextet have three studio albums in their hats: the more tempo-aggressive, Bluegrass/Alternative Country sound of 2012’s My Father and The Hunter; the conspicuously electrified We Still Move on Dance Floors of 2013; and the more textured and lyrically developed Hope. Now, six years after their last offering, The Strumbellas are ready to unleash their fourth oeuvre, titled Rattlesnake.

Scheduled for release through Glassnote Records, nine songs in total, Rattlesnake simply continues what The Strumbellas had strewn and woven in its predecessor. Their glowing sound and positive proclamations are as bright and cheerful as ever. It opens straightaway with the engaging stomping beat and infectious chants of “Salvation,” once again catapulting the band into the pantheon populated by their fellow Pastoral Pop purveyors like Mumford & Sons (“Hopeless Wanderer”), Fleet Foxes (“Ragged Wood”), Walk Off the Earth (“Rule the World”), Bastille (“Icarus”), Imagine Dragons (“Believer”), and The Lumineers (“Stubborn Love”).

Starting with a bit of drama and buildup, “I’ll Wait” then slowly rises from being a small splash to a wondrous wall of waves, taking the listener to greater sonic shapes. Maintaining the adrenaline and the foot-stomping vibes, “One Hand Up” further infects the listener with unstoppable humming and singing.

“Running Scared (Desert Song)” is a trek into the countryside, mountainside, or desert-side for that matter; with its fluid horn flourishes, it is sure to cause the listener to grab the hands of another to lead her to the center of the dance area. After this playful tune, The Strumbellas start the next track, “We All Need Someone,” with an acoustic guitar and then beef it up with a violin and then the rest of the strings and the whole Gospel ensemble.

Another quiet ebbing follows in the form of “We Were Young,” which then shifts gears anyway with its jangly guitars and catchy choruses. The acoustic excursion continues with “The Party”—melodramatic, romantic, and sentimental—only to pick up again with the relative stomper “High”—a possible future classic that may remind the initiated of The Cure’s balladry (“A Letter to Elise”) albeit expressed in Alternative Country terms. Finally, The Strumbellas wrap up their latest batch of power songs aptly with the inspired mid-tempo “All My Life.”

Truly becoming one of Canada’s Alternative pride, The Strumbellas have proven again that their sonic spirits and melodic strength are as compelling as the sun and as alluring as the moon. Rattlesnake is one of those albums that will surely earn the repeat-mode button of any self-respecting enthusiast of Folk-based Pop Rock music. Cryptic Rock gives The Strumbellas’ new album 4 out of 5 stars.

strumbellas album - The Strumbellas - Rattlesnake (Album Review)

Purchase Rattlesnake:

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aLfie vera mella
aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature.In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music.As a means to further his passion for music, he formed the band haLf man haLf eLf. He now performs with another band, The Psychedelics.aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He began writing album reviews for CrypticRock in 2015.In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf? His next planned literary endeavor is to publish the remaining parts of the anthology and his works on Poetry, Fantasy Fiction, and Mythology.In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. He participates at various community events; and he explores the diverse cultural beauty of Canada whenever his schedule permits it.aLfie is a doting and dedicated father to his now ten-year-old son, Evawwen.

1Comment
  • New releases for the week ending March 29th 2019 - ourBasement.ca
    Posted at 12:00h, 28 March Reply

    […] One of the emerging flag bearers of the relatively new sub-genre of Alternative Country known as Pastoral Pop are The Strumbellas, whose penchant for sunny, melodic, chant-laden, singalong songs is unwavering. Now they are set to return with their fourth overall full-length album, Rattlesnake, on Friday, March 29th. (Cryptic Rock) […]

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