THE STRUTS – Young & Dangerous

My wife and I were just about to park our car when this fat, bad-ass groove came blasting through our car stereo speakers. We just had to stay put until the song ended and the DJ would let us know which band we were listening to. The DJ, however, was silent and a new song began. Dammit! It would take us another couple of days before we were informed that the band in question was called The Struts (a name that makes us Swedes smirk some as ‘struts’ means ostrich in Swedish…) and the song was called “Kiss This”. A quick google told me that the song was taken from the band’s debut album Everybody Wants (2014), an album that was reissued for the US in 2016 with some new songs added and a couple of songs removed. A quick visit on YouTube told me that The Struts had more killer tracks than “Kiss This” and a purchase of said album was a no-brainer for yours truly. The record was, of course, awesome and their gig at Sweden Rock Festival in 2016 was a real killer – the party was on at noon!

The Struts is a four-piece from Derby, Derbyshire, England that mixes Classic Rock with 70’s Glam Rock in the best of ways. The band’s members are singer Luke Spiller, a dude who’s a mix of Freddie Mercury, Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Rod Stewart, one of the best frontmen I’ve ever seen. I actually heard (of) him the first time when he sang on Mike Oldfield’s brilliant Man On The Rocks (2014) album where he did a great job. The bands also consists of guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott and drummer Gethin Davies, great players who together with Spiller will do their best at taking the world by storm. Since the release of the debut record, the band have been touring hard and they have opened for mega artists like Guns N’ Roses, Rolling Stones, The Who, Mötley Crüe and the Foo Fighters and their debut gig at American soil, at the legendary The Troubadour, sold out in 30 minutes. The new album comes with sky-rocketing expectations, expectations that must hold if world-domination will follow.

The album both opens and closes with “Body Talks” in two different versions, both released as a single. The opener is an uptempo, swinging pop-glam rocker that holds an instant catchiness. It’s a positive pop-pearl that will make you smile in an instant and it deserves to be an enormous hit. The closing version holds a more dance-laden groove where singer Kesha duets with Spiller. It’s probably a way to cross over to a different audience and it’s a good version but I prefer the opener. Second track and latest single “Primadonna Like Me” comes with a huge groove and big 70’s Glam Rock vibe with some Keef-influenced guitar riffing and a bubblegum Sweet-like refrain that’s so catchy it’s insane. Fan-bloody-tastic! There’s a huge party-vibe to “In Love With A Camera” – swinging and pop-groovy and a chorus so catchy it’s ridiculous. This is the kind of tune The Darkness would sell their mothers to write but thank God they didn’t.

“Bulletproof Baby” comes in a more mid tempo but still with an enormous groove which makes it impossible to stand still to. It’s an arena rocker with a big Classic Rock vibe, a quite heavy rhythm and another one of their million-hooks refrains where catchiness reigns. This is so awesome! “Who Am I” holds a funky rhythm and the flirt with disco is shameless and the huge swing will fill any dance floor wherever. The tune still rocks with a powerful riff and a golden refrain that sticks right off the bat. Prince goes Glam rock could sum this tune up, at least some. “People” is a bit heavier, it’s in mid-pace and moves towards Hard Rock but with a solid groove and a good live feel. It’s a memorable tune but not as instant catchy, more of an album track, if you will but it will work great from the stage. Very good. “Fire (Part 1)” is an upbeat mix of 70’s Glam and Classic Rock with a good dose of Pop. It’s a punchy stomper with a direct and catchy refrain – very good!

“Somebody New” is a bona fide power ballad dressed up in a Glam Rock suit. It comes in an uptempo pace and holds a good Rock groove complete with an infectious swing and a sing-along kind of chorus that’s highly addictive. There are twists of Pop and Pomp and the major catchiness makes this tune an obvious single-choice. This is a hit and a damn good one too. “Tatler Magazine” is a swinging Pop tune with good Rock vibe where ABBA goes Glam Rock at a Queen party. With a million hooks to sell, the chorus is so addictive you need rehab to get rid of it once it’s there. The only thing I don’t like about the song is that I didn’t write it! “I Do It So Well” is rocked up dance music where the flirtation with disco almost goes overboard. Still there’s a trashy punk vibe to it and Rock is the base. It’s catchy and ok but not really my kind of brew.

“Freak Like You” is heavier, slower and even a bit dark and holds some distinct riffing but it wouldn’t be The Struts if the Glam Rock didn’t show up at some point. It sports a big influence from Classic Rock as well. It’s a driving and punchy track with a good dose of Rock & Roll in there to shake things up – and of course a big refrain that grabs a hold immediately and won’t let go. Very Good. “Ashes (Part 2)”, the follow up to “Fire”, starts on a slower note with a punchy groove and a big arrangement that throws a nod toward Stadium Rock. The verses shake up the ground in a kicking rock and roll way but the chorus, still ridiculously catchy, slows the pace down some and we’re also treated with a The Who “Baba O’Reilly” like coda for good measure. The album then ends with the reprise of “Body Talks”, a song we went through above. And with that, all I want to do now is to play the record all over again. And then again. And then…

With two albums out, both all killer, no filler and a highly entertaining, tighter than a camel’s ass in a sandstorm live act, The Struts have got all the possibilities in the world to become a major, global Rock act and if you ask me, they should already be one because there’s nothing here not to like. Sure, this is Glam Rock but not as in Poison or Pretty Boy Floyd, no what we’re talking about here is Sweet, Queen, Bowie, T. Rex and the likes but just because they’re glammy doesn’t mean they’re all without substance – there’s nothing shallow about The Struts at all. They play and write music the enjoy and love and they do not give a shit about anything else. If they can keep up the high-quality song writing and live performances I don’t doubt for a minute they’ll soon be the superstars they imagine they already are. This album is a Glam Rock gem and hopefully the world will wake up and smell the Gin & Tonic with the release of this record. It’s party time!

9/10

Tracklist:

1. Body Talks
2. Primadonna Like Me
3. In Love With A Camera
4. Bulletproof Baby
5. Who Am I?
6. People
7. Fire (Part 1)
8. Somebody New
9. Tatler Magazine
10. I Do It So Well
11. Freak Like You
12. Ashes (Part 2)
13. Body Talks ft. Kesha

 

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