Written by Nick Hopton
Over the past few years, UK glam rock darlings, The Struts, have skyrocketed into the big time here in the United States. Propelled by a sound straight out of the ’70s with a modern twist, they revel in the beauty and glamour of the past, yet feel fresh enough to take us into the future. Their first two albums, Everybody Wants and YOUNG & DANGEROUS, combined the glam of David Bowie, the pure rock and roll of The Rolling Stones, and the larger than life arena sound of Queen. They created what many of us have been searching for. No nonsense, no bullshit rock and roll. There’s just one problem.
This album does not capture that magic.
Strange Days not only feels rushed; it was rushed. This album was recorded in just ten days. Now, some of the greatest albums in history have been completed in a very short time span such as this. However, this will not go down as one of those. The speed shows, and not in a good way. The majority of the songs feel like B-sides to an album that was never even released. An ode to the classics, but not capturing the magic or the feeling of songs in fact deemed “classics.” The band seemingly tried to create an album from the late ’70s, but landed somewhere completely different. There’s just no real heart in the album.
Now that’s not to say it’s all bad. There are a few tracks on this outing that pass the test. Few being the keyword. The title track, “Strange Days,” which features UK legend Robbie Williams on vocals, is a beautiful ballad that honestly and completely sums up the current timeline that we are stuck in. “Strange Days / In many strange ways / Science fiction I believe has become reality…” It’s the one song on the album that is full of the heart that the rest of the album lacks. That big arena sing-along.
Speaking of singalongs, “I Hate How Much I Want You” brings the thunder that the band is known for. They recruited Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott and Phil Collen to spice things up to a full-blown heat. The most scathing track on the album, one could have only hoped that this was the sound standard that was followed for the entire outing. It’s the most memorable song here, one destined for the live set list with the crowd screaming the chorus back in unison.
The closing track of the album, “Am I Talking To The Champagne?”, is a total departure from anything the band has done in the past, and surprisingly works like a charm. A sensual, Santana-esque lullaby that oozes the sex appeal the boys have come to be known for. A late saxophone and guitar solo tie us together like ropes on a bed frame.
For the record, this album is not entirely bad, the majority just lacks the intensity of the three outstanding songs above. There are sparks of that greatness here; it just doesn’t hit the standard that has been set by The Struts due to the brilliance of their prior two albums. Albums, which top to bottom, front to back, just knock you on your ass with a thunder from the heavens. They haven’t by any means “lost it” or strayed away from what makes them great. It’s simply an outing that missed the mark. The future is still very, VERY bright for the band. A future that will no doubt lead them into history as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time.
Connect with The Struts