October 16, 2020 The Struts – Strange Days (Album Review)
What did you do with your time during the peak COVID-19 quarantine months? Did you clean out a closet or two? Did you catch up on your favorite television series? Maybe you did the noble thing and actually spent some time with your family. Whatever you did, UK rockers The Struts went ahead and recorded a brand new album. A follow up to 2018’s Young & Dangerous, their third overall studio album, Strange Days, finds it way to curious fans on Friday, October 16, 2020 through Interscope.
For those late to the party, The Struts are a Rock-n-Roll band out of Derby, Derbyshire, England who has been plowing forward since 2012. Raised on a steady diet of Classic Rock, the band – made up of Luke Spiller (vocals), Adam Slack (guitars), Jed Elliott (bass), and Gethin Davies (drums) – have done a lot of cool things over the years. Having toured with everyone from Def Leppard to Foo Fighters, they have also put out some pretty cool tunes including chart-topping singles “Could Have Been Me,” “Kiss This,” and Body Talks.”
As solid as ever in 2020, and with a strong reputation, they went ahead to work on Strange Days with Producer Jon Levine at his home in Los Angeles, CA. Assured they all were tested for COVID-19 before doing so, under lock down, they churned out 10 new recordings that are all over map of the Rock-n-Roll world.
What does this mean? It means you get an album that wears its influences on its sleeve, and it sounds pretty darn good doing so. First it starts with the very thoughtful opening track “Strange Days.” A song that clearly is reflective of the times we are living through right now, it features some wonderful guest vocals from the accomplished Pop star Robbie Williams. A great way to pop the cork, unfortunately like most of us, The Struts are “All Dressed Up (With Nowhere To Go),” as the next Party Rock song implies before a surprising cover of KISS’ classic “Do You Love Me.”
Keeping the Rock coming, the boys called on Joe Elliot and Phil Collen to join them for the anthemic “I Hate How Much I Want You” and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello to jam on “Wild Child.” However, these are not the last of the songs to feature some cool guests, because later on “Another Hit Of Showmanship” see’s The Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr. join the fun. This is while “Cool” possesses a Rolling Stones feel, “Can’t Sleep” an Iggy Pop groove, and album closer “Am I Talking To The Champagne (Or Talking To You)” wraps things up on a very high note.
All in all, Strange Days is a pretty strong album that sounds very live, equally human, and perfect for a party-like atmosphere. The guitars are raw, the vocals are gruff, and the instrumentation in general is strong; a prime example of this is “Am I Talking To The Champagne (Or Talking To You).” The fact that The Struts were able to get so many well-known artists to join them for Strange Days is pretty remarkable too. However, the most remarkable aspect of it all is this album was recorded in a 10 day period! So, if you break that down, that is one song a day – 9 original tunes and 1 prime cut cover. Not bad at all, and that is why Cryptic Rock gives Strange Days 4 out of 5 stars.