Strange Days indeed, for everybody all over the world. We’ve all been affected by this shitstorm but this latest album from UK rockers The Struts is just the antidote we need.
Up there with compatriots Massive Wagons as the hardest working band in rock, The Struts have continued to work throughout the pandemic and have come up with a gem.
2018’s Young and Dangerous is a fabulous album so my expectations were high. They were met.
Recorded over a period of just ten days Strange Days is a great mix of rockers, slowies, pomp and circumstance.
Having gained a foothold in the US following some hard yards Luke Spiller (vocals), Jed Elliott (bass), Adam Slack (guitar) and Gethin Davies (drums) decided to up sticks and move Stateside full time. As COVID-19 took hold the guys decamped to the studio to record an EP to see us all through the pandemic. However, the band’s creative juices were flowing so much so that they came up with nine new tracks plus a cover of the classic Kiss tune “Do You Love Me”.
The band originally wanted to record the track with Def Leppard’s Phil Collen and Joe Elliott in recognition of the former’s recording of it when in Girl, but the duo wanted to record something original. The outcome was “I Hate How Much I Want You”.
It’s a barnstorming track which will no doubt be a crowd-pleaser if we ever get back to going to gigs.
While we’re on collaborations, the album opens with the title track recorded with occasional pop icon Robbie Williams. It is a somewhat subdued track, reflecting the world we’re living in and how we feel most of the time.
“All Dressed Up (With No Place To Go)” gets the toe-tapping rock going. A choppy Slack riff keeps it together while Spiller bemoans the inability to go out and party during these lockdown times.
Do ya, do ya?
When it comes to “Do You Love Me”, it must be one of the hardest tunes to actually fuck up, which The Struts fortunately avoid. Nothing is really added to this classic, except it does sound a bit strange when sung in an English accent………..
The aforementioned “I Hate How Much I Want You” opens with a camp, amusing exchange via phone between Spiller and “King of the Leppards” Elliott. The riffs are crunching and forceful and it’s a great ride.
It’s collab time again and the band is joined by Rage Against the Machine’s legendary guitarist Tom Morello on “Wild Child”. This track is dirtier than The Meister’s pants after three days at The Sweden Rock Festival. This you would expect as Morello won’t fancy featuring on any old pop pap.
There’s a bluesy vein to “Cool”, with added Rolling Stones riffs for maximum effect. Spiller chats his way through the track more than sings, but that’s ok, it’s done with great results. The highlight is the last couple of minutes jamming, lovely stuff.
The piano-driven “Burn It Down” sees Spiller strain every vocal sinew on a slow but intense ode to getting it on. Slack’s guitaring is exquisite and adds another layer of sexiness to the occasion.
The final collaboration comes with Albert Hammond Jr of The Strokes fame. “Another Hit of Showmanship” is the nearest to previous Struts tracks. Nice and catchy with plenty of pace to carry you along in a wave of toe-tapping and head-nodding. It’s good stuff.
Funky Elliott bass kicks off “Can’t Sleep” which again recalls earlier Struts. Peacock-strutting riffs build up to a Brian May inspired crescendo which hits you right in the gut. Compelling.
We finish on “Am I Talking to the Champagne (Or Am I Talking to You), and what a finish it is. Deeply intense and beautifully bluesy with some sexy sax for good measure. This track is so, so cool. It’s as cool as Billy Gibbons, and we all know he’s the king of cool. It’s not a rocker by any stretch but it’s just a superb song.
The Struts’ third album Strange Days is a quality album full of passion. You can smell the effort that has gone into it.
Along with Massive Wagons, The Struts are the best band to have come out of the UK in the past 10 years, no doubt. World domination is only a matter of time and it will be fully deserved.
The band is safely ensconced back in their homeland, just itching to get out there entertaining again. For one, I just can’t wait.