Album number four! Number four? Prolific South Wales rockers Trampolene are right on the money with ‘Rules Of Love & War’. It’s reached the point where something has to happen and after the first play, I concluded that this album is a step up from the previous offerings in overall sonic attack and songwriting its like they’ve gone through puberty and have now come out the otherside all grown up and delivered a proper big boys album.
This has the feel of a hit album, it might be lacking in the youthful reckless thrust of say an ‘Alcoholic Kiss’ and the chaotic moments of previous offerings but this album shines brighter. The band are older and it would seem wiser but with the cheeky smile still evident, Jack and the boys have delivered an all-around massive sounding hit album – They know it – Strap Original knows it – I know it and once you take a trip with it you’ll know it. The first singles released indicated just how serious this trio are about moving to the next level, with ‘Together’ having the hook to draw you in and enough charm to keep you close it has everything the band deserves to move on up.
Then there’s ‘Money’ with its punchy bass line and Jacks’s’s monologue showing that the band can still dish out catchy chart-bothering yet hard-hitting songs from the left of centre. Captivating and thoroughly engaging. let’s not get ahead of ourselves and return to the beginning. ‘Blood Has No Nationality’ gently opens the new album with a sparse soundscape whilst Jack opens up about his fears of recent events and how people treat each other. It’s a powerful opener and one you hope will resonate far and wide. That resolutely determined energy moves into the first song proper ‘Thinking Again’ which gently strides into view before reaching the chorus and the singalong call and we’re all bouncing and punching the air. Excellently crafted indie guitar pop or whatever you want to label it, overall it’s a real earworm – well crafted from the floor tom thump to the intricate guitar work to the joyous chorus and sing along.
‘Alexandra Palace’ was inspired by The Kink’s classic ‘Waterloo Sunset’ and tells an imaginary story that Jack could see unfolding from his window. With underlying acoustic guitars and horn that burst through the speakers like sunshine breaking through a window on a crisp winter’s morning, it’s a wonderfully simple song – Old school songwriting with a great melody and storytelling lyrics with a widescreen vision of how the music frames the story. Should and could be a hit.
The indie pop of Teardrop Explodes or The Bunnymen is fired into sight on the fantastic fast moving ‘Sort Me Out’ made to get sweaty dance floors bouncing, to be fair it does all that and more. A modern anthem that tips the hat to those that did the groundwork back in the 80s and maybe the band have indeed sorted out their shit and going to give this pop star game a real go.
There are quieter moments laid next to the more vibrant moments and one shines a brighter light on the other if you know what I mean. There is the ballad with a Lennon-like piano on ‘I’m Not Your Man…Maybe’ with its backing vocals lifted from classic pop songs written as far back as pop became a thing. It’s also got a great lead vocal from Jones who sounds like he’s invested everything he has into getting his words out. Following that is a genuinely dreamy love song from Jones to his “Better Half”.
The middle of the album strikes me as profoundly personal and Jack pours his heart into these tracks and lyrics that resonate with the listener. A real triumph of personal being universal, He sounds like he’s in a great place and it’s coming through in this record. Great songs, well constructed and excellently delivered from all three in the band.
As you arrive into the thick of this album the gentler moments ease your soul with some great subtle laid-back songs, letting the music do the talking and the sound of Trampolene maturing before your very ears is warming. ‘Litany of Council House Mistakes’ is another gentle wheeze as the story unfolds. The quiet and gentle acoustic strum is then smashed with the funky sound of that flanged Bassline and dance beat on ‘Money’ pounding your speakers as Jacks poem about the inequality in society rages around your head the song hits home and I reach the repeat button to pour some more audio Molotov into this cocktail. If your looking for a danceable soundtrack to the revolution then this banger is it.
As we head for the finish line there’s time for a post covid gasp of air like a rebirth of sorts ‘Resurrection Concerto’ is the one track that I feel could fit in on any of the band’s albums with its hopeful melody and rejoicing strings arching out over six glorious minutes. The album then signs off with a poem written by Jacks’s grandfather who is tracked reciting the words under Jack’s own vocal. Haunting and wonderful in equal measures.
What a fantastic piece of work from a wonderful band that has entertained and impressed me for many years now and looks like they will continue to do so. If this isn’t a commercial success then I’ll eat my Euro 2016 beer-soaked bucket hat. I’m all in for seeing more of those chaotic adventures live but in bigger venues, packed with people who’ve boarded after being lured in by this fantastic record. All killer, no filler – The Trampolene bounce begins here are you on board? I am.
Author: Dom Daley