Glam rock revival
2020 has been a rough year for everyone, but not all is lost. The silver lining? The Struts are back.
On Strange Days, the band’s third studio album, The Struts return to their glam rock roots with indomitable energy and ambition. In addition to featuring rock legends like Tom Morello, Def Leppard and more, the entire album was recorded in merely 10 days in quarantine. And despite its extremely short incubation period, it’s exactly what the doctor ordered. Strange Days is a much-needed hit of endorphins that showcases not only The Struts’ ever-improving brand of modernized, glitzy alt-rock, but also their sky-high growth potential.
Title track “Strange Days” succinctly encapsulates the chaos of the times. “Science fiction, I believe/ Has become reality” sings frontman Luke Spiller. “We don’t know, it’s unclear/ Where we’ll be this time next year.” Spiller trades verses with pop rock singer Robbie Williams, elevating “Strange Days” into a surprisingly heartfelt duet. Rather than relying on The Struts’ trademark energy and bombast, the track opens the album contemplatively, emphasizing Spiller’s vocal versatility and setting the stage for the remainder of Strange Days.
Conversely, songs like “All Dressed Up (With Nowhere To Go)” and “Wild Child” are prime additions to The Struts’ ever-growing pantheon of riotous rock bangers. Spiller’s bravado is tangible, unrelenting and infectious across Strange Days, drawing directly on the glamorous excesses of the ’70s and ’80s. While “All Dressed Up” is an up-tempo, retro ode to living life in the fast lane, “Wild Child” is a hard rock shotgun blast–locked and loaded by the one and only Tom Morello–that will unquestionably be a staple of The Struts’ post-quarantine live shows.
The Struts’ winning streak continues on “I Hate How Much I Want You,” a classic rock joyride inspired by (and featuring) Phil Collen and Joe Elliott of Def Leppard. The chemistry between Spiller, Collen and Elliott is gloriously raucous and irresistibly magnetic. When performed live, fans will undoubtedly sing along, headbang and mosh to their hearts’ content. Similarly, “Another Hit of Showmanship” is a radio-friendly alt-rock thrill ride about addictions to fame, performing and living large. Featuring Albert Hammond Jr., “Another Hit” is criminally catchy and belongs at the top of everyone’s rock playlists.
That said, The Struts aren’t afraid to deviate from their tried-and-true glam rock formula on Strange Days. “Cool” is a groovy six-minute jam that keeps on giving, complemented by funky bass and an extended guitar solo. The Struts pay homage to KISS on their cover of “Do You Love Me,” imbuing the stadium-ready track with their own brand of electric swagger. And later, album closer “Am I Talking to the Champagne (Or Talking to You)” is an unexpected genre-bender. Between a Santana-esque guitar line, bluesy rhythm section, sultry saxophone solo and memorable chorus–which only further highlights Spiller’s vocal talent–“Am I Talking” is a sensuous soundtrack fitting for any escapade.
Strange Days not only solidifies The Struts as the 21st century’s preeminent glam rockers, but also reveals a bold new penchant for genre-bending experimentation. For Luke Spiller and his compatriots, the only direction is up. When live music returns, don’t hesitate–see The Struts as soon as possible.