The Struts have a new album out and get ready to take a shot every time singer Luke Spiller utters the word ‘Baby.’
Strange Days a is glam-metal bingo board from the Derby rockers. Opening track “Strange Days” will leave you asking one question. Why is Robbie Williams here? “All Dressed Up (With Nowhere To Go)” is stiff sounding, straight down to the unnecessary addition of a revving motorbike. There’s no chemistry here, rather sounding like they’ve been commissioned to soundtrack a mockumentary of a metal band, a la Spinal Tap.
Lyrics like ‘but in this lockdown baby/ can’t go out,’ elude to the current climate. Strange Days, written in the midst of a pandemic, was recorded in 10 days at an LA studio during lockdown, with input from a star-studded line-up of rock and roll greats. Which, regardless of the end product, sounds like a lot of fun.
On “Do You Love Me” The Struts cover KISS, taking the band’s inspiration full circle. With lines such as ‘you like the way my limousine rolls,’ you get an insight into the inspiration behind Strange Days, fingers crossed they can stump up something better than whining about whether or not their lover is actually into them.
Introduced by a staged sounding phone call between Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot and singer Luke, “I have this big, fat chorus that I need your big, old pipes for, what do you say baby?” is “I Hate How Much I Want You.” Look past the bizarre intro and this is one of the better songs on the album, staying on the right side of the stadium rock schtick. For those into classic rock tracks, singing about forbidden love over meandering guitar solos, you’ll probably like this song.
Its fair say that Strange Days picks up a little as it goes along. By far the highest point ofthe album is “Wild Child”. Elevated with guitars from Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, his contribution clearly elevates the track above the others and is where the band sound the most versatile and punchy.
“Cool” is a fairly inoffensive albeit forgettable track, grooving guitars with the obligatory ‘oh ooh ooohes,’ checked off. ‘Burn It Down’ is more of the same, adding in some keys for extra effect. “Another Hit Of Showmanship,” with Albert Hammond Jr, brings a summery take to the retro hair rock revamp, sounding like it’s been lifted straight from the soundtrack of an American high school drama film from the 80s.
Let’s consider the aims and the audience The Struts had in mind when making this record. To make a fun, nu-glam rock album that is shamelessly unapologetic? Mission accomplished. Will it appeal to unapologetic glam-metal lovers? Absolutely.
Unfortunately for anyone else, Strange Days feels like a collection of discarded KISS demos that couldn’t find their groove.