British Rock quartet The Struts have become a minor US sensation, earning their name for their undeniably fun party tunes, as well as their heart wrenching ballads that pay a homage to the ‘glory days’ of eighties British Rock. However, their most recent album is a change in overall tone, cutting the polished party tunes for a darker, less refined sound.
‘Strange Days‘ is an album written and released for the pandemic. With lines about lockdown love, viruses and being ‘All Dressed Up (With Nowhere to Go)‘. ‘All Dressed Up’ is a fun track, reminiscent of the sound I expect from the Struts; its very 80’s, funky and would be fitting for the soundtrack of an edgy coming of age movie.
‘Wild Child‘ (featuring Tom Morello) is quite similar, but also adds more of a sultry edge; its darker sounding. Morello’s guitar boosts this track to a level it wouldn’t have otherwise reached. It’s a little more grown up than The Struts other songs, a little wiser and a direction I would be excited for them to move towards. Spiller’s husky vocals compliment the distorted guitars beautifully, and the punchy, overdriven bass serves the track well, overall, I would argue that ‘Wild Child’ is one of the more well put together and refined songs found on the album.
However, the rest of the album does not give me the same party vibes I was hoping for; being in the current times, we all could’ve used a bit of the Struts’ wonder and theatrics, this album just doesn’t deliver on that front. Overall it sounds a little premature, a little under produced and overall messy. An album featuring Tom Morello, Phil Collen, Joe Elliot and even Robbie Williams (but we won’t talk about that) sounds like one hell of a ride, but instead it’ nowhere near as cohesive as their previous releases. What should’ve been an epic reach into stardom is instead a mediocre album that leaves you feeling unsatisfied and a little confused.
The songwriting is a little sloppy and the production a little off. Overall this album could be so much stronger if they hadn’t recorded it over just 10 days. It needs some polishing that could’ve come from spending longer in the studio. Everything is there, apart from the usual Struts polish and dramatics that they have earned their name from. It would be more fitting for this to be a first release, rather than a third, their overall sound feels as though it has regressed, with their previous releases putting this album to shame.