The Strypes – Snapshot (Virgin EMI)
DL / LP / CD
9/10 review for teenage band reinventing the blues.
It says a lot for the perceived state of rock ‘n’ roll that any sprightly guitar album from a young band is held up as a great work and a revival in real talent as opposed to the X Factor judge soap opera.
But then The Strypes are not just any band.
The Irish four piece from Cavan have been thrilling the live circuit for a couple of years with incredible shows that combine killer musicianship, sharp suits and a fierce intensity that marks them one of the most thrilling bands out there.
It’s a sort of synchronicity that as the great Wilko Johnson prepares to bale out The Strypes have suddenly arrived to keep the flame very much alive- something which thrills the old stager.
Initially people were worried that the band were relying on covers, forgetting that was how the Beatles and the Stones had cut their teeth back in the holy mist of the early days of rock ‘n’ roll.
And it’s those days of early rock ‘n’ roll that we are concerning ourselves with here.
The album tracks machine gun out in a series of riffs as sharp as their suits- a blur of guitars and harmonicas and urgent melodies- the band bristle with energy and of course it’s classic, and of course it’s all been done before and of course this music is ancient but give it a blood transfusion and it comes out this perfect. That’s the beauty of the form- it’s so sodding timeless and in these young hands it has been reinvented yet again for one of the albums of the year.
Being original is so overrated anyway – the Strypes are sonically and sartorially dealing with The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones, Dr Feelgood and Bo Diddley but giving the old standards a 21st century 21st.
This is about the now and the fierce power of the music sounds so ‘of the moment’ that it’s perfect- just like punk was not that original but perfect in its time, just like the Stones were tapping into the blues- the magic dust, the musical elixir is always there to be tapped into and like everything great bout life it’s always perfect.
So fuck that debate. The Strypes are the perfect teenage moment- they have the energy, the chops and the musical skills to make this work. They also have the songs now as well- their own material taking the building blocks of rock n roll and reconstructing them for the 21st century with two covers to make up the 12 songs including a brisk take on Willie Dixon’s blues standard You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover just to tell you where all this stuff comes from- a signpost for the next generation.
The band have already shown us what they can do with their run of self penned singles – What a Shame, Hometown Girls and Mystery Man which are already being busily learned by the new generation of sharp suited suburban music freaks.
As we predicted at the beginning of the year The Strypes are one of the key bands of 2013- a multi faceted musical year where music has fractured into all directions and we can listen to all of it at the same time.
Lets celebrate that we can still produce bands this urgent, this skilled and this deeply immersed in the classic stuff.