April 17, 2015 Strung Out – Transmission.Alpha.Delta (Album review)
Six years have passed since Southern California Punk quintet Strung Out have released an album. They had been so reliable for two decades, writing, recording, touring, and repeating the cycle roughly once every two years, that to go this long without new music felt like cause for alarm. Frontman Jason Cruz shared similar feelings, but it took a while to recollect and reconvene — until now. Back with a new album in 2015, Strung Out are kicking it again. Marking their eighth album, Transmission.Alpha.Delta is the name of their new baby, and it comes with twelve spanking new songs. Released March 24th via their long-time label Fat Wreck Chords, the album charted 144 on the Billboard 200. Cruz is his own harshest critic, so when the singer says this might be his favorite Strung Out album, he really means it, and his is an opinion with which listeners will be likely to agree.
“Rats in the Walls” is the opener of the album. It begins with a sample before the heavy and fast music is sets in, and with its fast guitar playing and even faster drums, this song will raise the listener’s adrenaline level. On it goes with “Rebellion of the Snakes,” which is not any less forceful than “Rats.” On the first two tracks, Strung Out establish a level of speed that they will maintain until the end of the album. With strong vocals and a little soloing on the guitar, “The Animal and the Machine” adds a little Rock’n’Roll to the whole package. Slowing down and leaving the listener some time to breathe, the album continues with “Modern Drugs.” “Black Maps” brings the aggression back slowly, and with “Spanish Days” all Punk elements are back in the game. The melody remains catchy, and the chorus is likely to get stuck in the listener’s head. Heavy guitar riffs open “Tesla” and are soon followed by a fast beat and breaks in the melody. “Nowheresville” is another track filled with Punk guitar and drums, while “Magnolia” has a grand opening, like a prologue, before the vocals set in to tell a deep story. “Go It Alone” has a slightly brighter sound than the previous song, even though the lyrics are not uplifting. “No Apologies” opens with a child recording, followed by another deep song to sum it all up, “Westcoasttrendkill.” On this track, Strung Out show off their talent one last time, and with the crazy guitar playing and rapid drums, this song will get the Punk heart beating faster.
Transmission.Alpha.Delta is an album well worth its half-decade wait, with incredible songs like “Magnolia,” “Modern Drugs,” and “Tesla” lyrically tackling difficult issues like drug addiction, faith, and even the technological brainwashing of today’s youth, while musically measuring up with the best moments of the band’s back catalog. Just completing a string of Canadian dates, Strung Out return to the states for a load of shows through June, so be sure to check them out as they offer up the new tracks off Transmission.Alpha.Delta. CrypticRock gives this album 4 out of 5 stars.