Monday, May 23, 2016

RECORD REVIEW: The Struts - "Everybody Wants"

The Struts
Everybody Wants
(Interscope Records)

Dear God  Thank you
for sweet old grannies,
cuddly little puppies,
tasty peach cobbler,
lazy summer Sundays,
Skittles, rainbows and
The Struts. Amen.

We live in a truly messed-up, stressed-out, dark and angry world — a petri dish of dysfunction where life can often become difficult. Facing such daily dilemmas as breakups, meltdowns, what to wear to prom, which public bathroom to "identify" with, and reaching Level 12 on Immortal Baby Killer XI can certainly be overwhelming, for sure. And with the soundtrack to our fast-paced, fast-food, modern-day lives now seemingly being scored solely by an endless procession of filth-spewing rap goons, beer-guzzling good ol' boys, computer-generated pop tarts, and super-complicated, hyper-sensitive emo brats, it's enough to make ya wanna scream(o). As a result, I personally crave music that beams golden sunshine into my life  music that inspires me to seek intimacy with my girlfriend, as opposed to inspiring me to bury a body. I want songs that make me feel glad to be alive. I want songs that make me wanna sing and dance. Simply put, I want The Struts! (Doesn't everybody?)

The Struts
Arguably the strongest record of the millennium thus far, this debut release from Britain's pop / rock poster boys has passed through the hallowed halls of several less-than-capable European labels since its initial 2014 release. However, it recently found its way across "the pond" and into the seemingly quite capable hands of Interscope Records. And in 2016, Everybody Wants has been expanded, re-packaged and re-released, worldwide.

To merely lump The Struts in with the menagerie of (less effective) recent retro revivalists would be to diminish the band's world-class songwriting, impeccable musicianship and authentic image. Although they're clearly cut from the same stylistic fabric as such iconic artists as Queen, T. Rex, Slade and The Sweet, The Struts "borrow" so much from so many influences, that the end result sounds fresh and unique — especially when placed on today's dry and barren rock landscape. Had Queen's music remained this crisp, I wouldn't have been forced to jump ship following Jazz in '78!

The Struts - "Put Your Money on Me"
(Hear it AND see it NOW on YouTube)

With his powerhouse, Mercury-style vocals and a knack for engaging storytelling, frontman Luke Spiller captivates from start to finish. In fact, Spiller's marvelous appeal — his irresistible charm, honest swagger and delightful r-r-rolled R's oozes from the grooves of this record like super-sweet honey dripping from a sticky-sweet comb, while his co-founding songwriting partner, guitarist Adam Slack brings non-stop Ziggy-caliber cred throughout. Add to the mix, Jed Elliot's skin-tight bass lines and Gethin Davies' rib-cracking drum tracks, indelibly stamped across these Buick-sized sing-alongs, and you've got all the components necessary for a bona fide nut-buster that delivers ALL thriller, and NO filler.

The months surrounding the record's official re-release earlier this spring, found the super-charged singles, "Could Have Been Me" and "Kiss This," both generating significant U.S. radio airplay and garnering impressive Billboard chart stats. However, one could contend that these high-octane earworms aren't necessarily the ultimate picks of this infectious litter. The bass-driven "Dirty Sexy Money," the arena-worthy "These Times are Changing" and the uber-anthemic "Young Stars" are all equally catchy and radio-friendly, while "Mary Go Round" just might be rock's most powerful, well-written breakup ballad ever. And I'll gladly defend that statement to anybody. But for my money, it's the cocky, crunchy, Motown-tinged, "Put Your Money on Me" that shines brightest among this 13-gem treasure chest.

-Christopher Long
(May 2016)

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  1. Hey! I really liked the article and loved that you linked the vid to it. I'm a big ' Sweet fan, and was so excited to read your comment about noting a similar sound w The Struts. I really hear those great old elements being reworked with these guys. Good band!

    1. Greetings, May -- thanks for stopping by. Keep on "strutting" your stuff!

  2. The Band should be called Luke Spiller instead of thee trendy Thee Struts They would be the first band on the moon ....BTW Queen just got better after Jazz especially The sonic Jem Hot Space...The Pope of Rock AND Roll has spoken

    1. Thanks for popping by and offering your insights. I'm honored to know that the Pope reads my work! (Don't be a stranger)