The Struts’ Strange Days lockdown musical project is a conflicting one. It’s something we should come to expect in the coming months; the Derby band are not the first to release a lockdown-inspired project, and they most certainly won’t be the last. A title like Strange Day instantly conjures up every email you’ve received in the last 6 months (“I hope this email finds you well in these uncertain times”) which can understandably make you want to hiss and run away.
But power through; even if you don’t want to be reminded of 2020, the music on this album in intoxicatingly good. The project sees them team up with some of their musical heroes, creating an eclectic musical team with contributions from Robbie Williams, members of Def Leppard and Rage Against The Machine guitar genius Tom Morello. The result is the highly glam-inspired sound we know and love from The Struts elevated by the outside influence of their collaborators.
Album opener ‘Strange Days’ features Robbie Williams of Take That fame; it isn’t the most likely collaboration, but it works just fine, without being anything out of this world. It’s a lot of what you would expect from a song called ‘Strange Days’, but thankfully the track doesn’t venture into the cringe territory of a ‘we’re all in this together’ attitude that got tiring after a week in quarantine.
The rest of the tracks on the album are much were noteworthy than its introductions. ‘All Dressed Up (With Nowhere To Go)’ is a euphoric gem of Strange Days. While the mention of lockdown takes away from the electric glam rock energy that makes this track so great, it’s a 70s rock homage that you won’t get out of your head any time soon. This is one to add to the getting-ready-for-a-night-out playlist for when you need that extra boost of energy. Authentic glam rock is hard to come by in the modern rock scene, and The Struts are a welcome and refreshing reminder of the influential genre. It takes us back to a time of classic rock ‘n’ roll in all of its decadent glory.
Tom Morello’s work on ‘Wild Child’ is, as Morello’s work always is, exquisite. Lead singer Luke Spiller’s vocals go from veer from British indie verses to 80s Hair Rock belting choruses at an alarming speed. Musically, the riffs in this song make it one of the most exciting tracks that Strange Days has to offer. Album finale ‘Am I Talking to the Champagne (Or Talking To You)’ picks up this classic indie sound and ends the album with a low-energy, but perfectly indulgent song.
The cringe makes a comeback with the voicemail between Spiller and Joe Elliott of Dep Leppard on ‘I Hate How Much I Want You’. However, once the guitar comes crashing into the song, all sins are forgotten. The track is an elated 70s guitar track come to life in the modern-day. Songs like these create a yearning for the return of live music; they would take off on stage.
Don't be put off by the lockdown theme that runs throughout Strange Days; musically and lyrically, it's a fantastic record that you'll listen to again and again, even after 2020 is finally over.