Thumpers Crash Back into Focus with "Gargantua"
It's been a minute since we heard from the London duo, back after two years with this new single and an LP incoming.
It's been a minute or two years since we last heard from Thumpers. The last time we checked in they were still touting their Sub Pop-released debut Galore, a collection of ricocheting, maximalist peppy-pop—the sonic equivalent to running drunk and giddy through a fairground before falling into a breathless heap to watch the fireworks explode overhead. More specifically, we last premiered a little duet they did with Hunger Games actress and singer Jena Malone, and then? Silencio! Thank goodness they've returned—with a squelchy, stomping new tune. Premiering below "Gargantua" bears the hallmarks of classic Thumpers—the clattering percussion and layered vocals for one—but the female harmonies are nowhere to be heard and singer Marcus sounds gruffer, tougher; there's a crunchy verve to his guitar that's newly amplified.
But what have they—that's Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr.— been up to for that wedge of time? "After the comedown of finishing touring our first record, we were ready to take things in a new direction," explains Pepperell. "We wanted to see if the feeling the maximalism of Galore had could be achieved with less, basically fewer layers but more direction. 'Gargantua' started out with this one bass riff I sang into my phone which went on to form the backbone of the song, and which built and turned into a weird song about this insecure, musclebound hyper-male. I guess there's a central joke, and sadness, in the song—that the more he feels insignificant, the bigger the craving for bigness gets, and the more unsuited to modern life he becomes."
It's a song that's lifted from their as of yet untitled LP, which is due in April: recorded over 12 months in self-built studios in Kent and London, mixed by Simon Gooding (Philip Selway, The Map Room) in New Zealand and mastered by Joe LaPorta (David Bowie, Tune-Yards) at Sterling Sound in New York. So far so very international. But what else?
"Whereas our first record had this all encompassing, bombastic group feel to it, the new record has a definitive centre and voice," continues Peperell. "We've pared ourselves down to drums and guitar or bass a lot more, and there's also a lot more irony on the record than on the first album, whether that's in a song like 'Gargantua' or a song that's about having a meltdown over watching your ex share an ice cream. Hmmm, it's actually quite self-flagellating. I guess we pretty much let ourselves have a joint identity crisis and this album is about letting everyone else share in the most enjoyable/hysterical/extreme version of that."
"Gargantua" is out on November 25.