‘Strange Days’ proves The Struts are not stars

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Based in the U.K, The Struts are a rock band whose influences range from Def Leppard to the Rolling Stones. This seems fitting considering their latest record “Strange Days” belongs in the bargain bin of an ‘80s Radioshack. What makes a band successful is how they are able to innovate their sound in a particular moment in time. The Struts not only failed to innovate, but appear to also have regressed their sound. Photo courtesy of @KerrangMagazine on Twitter.

The 2010s were a great time for indie bands to flourish. Acts like The Neighbourhood and Bleachers were able to create fun songs that are catchy and creative. While those acts are still making great music, bands like The Struts have fallen into a rut. Based in the U.K, The Struts are a rock band whose influences range from Def Leppard to the Rolling Stones. This seems fitting considering their latest record “Strange Days” belongs in the bargain bin of an ‘80s Radioshack.  

Singer Luke Spiller sounds whiney and desperate throughout the record. His vocals are the worst on the song “Burn It Down” where he comes off as a narcissistic creep.  

“I’m not even six feet / But I’m the man you won’t forget / I’m the one and only virus / That you’ll love when you get” has to be the creepiest line i’ve heard this year. Spiller is not a convincing lover on this album and what is even less convincing are his singing chops. 

The album feels most lost when The Struts decide to feature Joe Elliott and Phil Collen on the song “I Hate How Much I Want You.” The features from Elliott and Collen are fine and sound like a b-side Def Leppard song, but why would the next track “Wild Child” have a Tom Morello feature on it? This is no disrespect to Morello, whose guitar work saves that song from being a dumpster fire, but it feels like The Struts had no plan for who they wanted featured on the album. Clashing styles for features is not a good look for any album, particularly one with sloppy songwriting. 

One bright spot on “Strange Days” is the song “All Dressed Up (With Nowhere to Go).” The track feels like an ‘80s Bruce Springsteen song about love during a lockdown, which is fitting given the current climate. Guitarist Adam Slack has some great riffs throughout the song and proves that he has a future either forming his own band or going solo. Spiller’s vocals are screechy at times, but they don’t dominate the song. 

What makes a band successful is how they are able to innovate their sound in a particular moment in time. Nirvana shook up the rock world in the ‘90s when they popularized grunge on their record “Nevermind.” Radiohead shattered expectations when they stripped rock down to its bones with their 2000 album “Kid A.” The Struts not only failed to innovate, but they also regressed their sound.  

When the band released their 2016 song “Could Have Been Me,” it was a great mix of ‘80s ballad rock with modern drumming. Four years later and The Struts are more focused on sounding ‘80s than they are sounding modern. By strictly focusing on the past for an entire album, The Struts will never reach the heights of their contemporaries because they will be busy chasing the success of their idols.  

It’s nice to hear one or two songs that sound like they’re from generations prior, but when that is all The Struts have to offer, they will be sitting in the dust while younger and more talented artists will be setting the trends for the next generation. 

Rating: 2.5/5 

11 COMMENTS

  1. Wow!! You are so wrong on all the negative criticisms you just made. Don’t ever assume a band will never go nowhere because that shows lack of professionalism and lack of respect especially to a band that had gained respect in the music industry and has stayed relevant and true to themselves.
    Sure, there’s going to be those few handfuls like yourself that don’t see how different, edgy, creative each track brings.
    I hate to tell ya but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with bringing back the 70s/80s glam and good old fashion rock n roll .. after all, it was the best music and for them to flourish it all back in to this album is pretty amazing!

    Sincerely,

    A Huge supporter of rock n roll 🤘

  2. I sound like this to a comment on you tube, why not include hip hop ???, wow, incredible comment, this band makes you believe that the rhythms and life of the great era of rock has not died, as there are some bands Who are saved, who tell you “hey, rock is not dead”, I prefer this style a thousand times, than to listen to all the real garbage that today sells more. Don’t be resentful for not having some exclusives.

  3. Glad I’m not stuck in a car listening to music Ian likes, that would be a horribly long ride, similar to his review. He doesn’t get The Struts, or deserve The Struts, they are a band made for fun, open minded people, he likely has neither of those two attributes, based on his ridiculous comparisons. Go back to the Bleachers.

  4. I respectully disagree, as this band has been able to capture, to quote them, “the future with the flavor of the past” on this album. It was written and recorded in 10 days, giving it that classic Exile on Main Street vibe, but covers topics and feelings that are very 2020 (All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go, am I right?)

  5. Kind of funny that he brings up 90’s grunge. Who is still listening to that? The younger generation (my teenage sons) hate grunge. But my older one loves this new album. He got his girlfriend into listening to the Struts. This reads like a Rolling Stones review, and we all know how wrong that rag has been in the past. I’m sure a lot of artists are laughing on their way to the bank. I get it, everyone has a different opinion when it comes to music. You may have some people agree with you, but I don’t think the majority will. People live this band and Luke’s voice.

  6. Think you need a new job cos your ears are not working properly. Lukes voice is the best I have heard since Freddy Mercury and the songs are spot on. I am not usually a heavy rock fan but could listen to the Struts all day. Already bought five tickets and album bundles to see them in Leeds in March and can’t wait

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