By Sebastian Buzzalino
CALGARY — By the end of The Rumble’s debut, nine-track, self-titled full-length, the Calgary four-piece manage to traverse the span of rock and roll’s canon, from grungy, grinding ragers, like album opener, “Thread,” to the twisted doo-wop ballad, “Faith,” to country-infused introspection on “Direction.” The album is a half-hour tour of the major milestones in rock and roll and is unafraid to pick and choose their favourite moments in history, bringing them together in a cohesive melting pot. Helmed by frontman Thomas Coles and joined by guitarist Luke Thomson, bassist Tim Pettigrew and drummer Travis Miller, The Rumble features four long-time friends working under a common banner. Despite the fact that they approach songwriting from different directions and with different influences, the album’s highs and lows reflect their spirit.
“We all come from different bands, so we had to adapt to each other,” says Thomson. “The fact that Travis plays so loudly, for example, means we have to meet halfway. I’m not as heavy as the rest of the band. They bring the heavy and I try to dial it back.”
“Luke’s like our dad. I don’t think any of us would be happy in a band that only plays one genre,” laughs Coles.
The band’s ability to shape-shift makes them hard to pigeonhole, a fact that the Rumble seems to enjoy. In the past, they’ve fit on roots bills, playing alongside Bitterweed Draw and Larry and His Flask, while also feeling at home on more straightforward rock and roll nights, opening for the Von Zippers and Bob Log III. Recently, they’ve returned from a stint in Toronto, where they played a CMW showcase.
“CMW is a weird thing,” says Coles. “It’s not like Sled Island, where people are out to see new stuff and be at these legendary parties. It’s just bands and businesspeople with cards. I know that that’s a part of it and you have to accept it, but it’s weird.” The foursome all confess to feel awkward trying to spend their nights schmoozing instead of boozing, though they do hope that this physical release will open new doors for the band, especially when booking out of town dates.
The self-titled album, which was recorded at The Sound Priory with Kirill Telichev, serves as a remarkably accurate slice of the band’s live performance, not only capturing the energy of the foursome’s bombastic show but also reflecting each of the members’ roles. Miller and Pettigrew lock in as a thundering rhythm section, while Thomson provides rootsy guitar licks and Coles focuses on providing a lasting lyrical experience.
“The lyrics are the number one priority for me,” he says. “Pretty much any song starts with a good idea for lyrics and it works backwards into the rest of the song. I think that’s kind of lacking in most music, right now, effort in lyrics. Most bands are kind of open about that, too: ‘We have this awesome song, but we don’t really put a lot of effort into the lyrics, just kind of made them up.’ The number one priority is to get good lyrics.
“It’s kind of about putting complex ideas into simple language. You should never need a thesaurus when you’re listening to rock and roll. You want to try and avoid cliches, a little bit, but you can’t try too hard and be too out there. It’s all about total self-hatred shit, too: all the good ones are about just talking about what a piece of shit failure you are.”
The Rumble will release their debut full-length at the Palomino on June 30.AB, Alberta, Palomino, The Rumble