The Strypes

Little Victories

(Universal Music)

Greetings to Strypes fans everywhere…..including those in Japan ( recently rocked up by this band on tour) AND the contingent of keen followers down in South America who found their way to our site via the splendid 20 Questions feature we did with the ensemble. We love The Strypes for their power, enthusiasm, songwriting and rebellious streak and we hope never to see them on The One Show or a Simon Cowell production…for Cowell and most of the mainstream never did get the raw appeal of R&B, where were any of them when Wilko Johnson was playing storming shows through the 90’s? Phil May of The Pretty Things is quite intrigued by the group’s stance and progress, he told me recently. Precious little of The Pretties’ influence in Coldplay, one Dimension or Elbow..but now things are brightening up…

‘Little Victories’ is the new album and my edition has 19 punchy cuts, ending in ‘Kick Out The Jams’ written by my old friends from Detroit, The MC5, no less. This song celebrates the power and energy of rock’n’roll and these are the guys to do it on the current scene. ‘Get Into It’ the lead cut and has a lumbering tempo and sarky vocal..hey any of you rockers missing The Hives get aboard here right now!

‘I Need To Be Your Only’ is purposeful and rolling in tempo, edge-of-tender lyrics, too. ‘Eighty Four’ is staccato to the max at first then takes on a crazed machine timing. Addictive tune, here. Dark guitar figures abound.

Whilst ‘Best Man’ chops its way into your sensibilities with a tinge of wah and an impassioned vocal ; and ‘Three Streets & A Village Green’ is an eerie piece, choking with a driving tempo, rock poetry..drum-framed stops that evoke The Standells. Lovely tune, drenched in fuzz. ‘Now She’s Gone’ is tricky as a trapped fox, the song bursting out of its format and an upfront bass figure. Bitterness never sounded so attractive. Edgy phasing just adds to the fray.

‘Cruel Brunette’ – many of them are, lads – adopts a stabbing progression that has a Kinks feel bar the singing. Then it plunges into Jam territory, bit of a twist. But I know they are Weller fans. ‘Scumbag City’ starts with its plaintive guitars and you almost expect to hear Roger Daltrey start singing. Best vocal on the record and a clever almost-folksy format heavied up. Like the Wolf reference, boys.

‘Lovers Leave’ has Ruts DC-style reggae as a platform, sardonic lyrics to the fore and a knowing vocal and a neat bridge. ‘Rejection’ sounds like a set opener to me, great chugging beat that hints at Two Tone. ‘Never There’ is a rocky plea with a link to ‘I’m Not Everybody Else’ the 60s Kinks gem, in spirit. How good is this drummer??‘ and what a catchy guitar part. ‘I Can’t Lie’ is the best song here, a real call to action and the band pounding away as one over a heady bassline. A fine set closer, I suggest…

So, wherever you are in the world, just plug in to The Strypes for some rock and pure exhilaration…Iggy Pop would surely approve!

Pete Sargeant

The Strypes’s new album ‘Little Victories’ is out now on Universal Music.