THE STRUTS – Young and Dangerous (Album Review)

It’s been four years since the release of The Struts’ debut album Everybody Wants and despite the release of a couple of EPs in the meantime, Young and Dangerous has been a long time coming.

Fortunately for all involved, this four-piece from Derby, UK have come up with an album well worth the wait.

On Everybody Wants, The Struts specialized in big sounds with catchy as hell hooks perfect for crowd participation, and stadium-sized crowds at that. This time around, on Young and Dangerous, the sound is bigger and the hooks are hookier. Jed Elliott’s bass has moved front and center to beef things up to great effect and Luke Spiller’s vocals are varied and English as ever.

The opening track, “Body Talks”, is a curious affair starting off like an Arctic Monkeys track before getting into the meat of the chorus. It’s quite disjointed for the most part but still creates the desire to sing along.

A Rolling Stones inspired riff welcomes “Primadonna Like Me” and now The Struts are in full Struts mode. A sleazy feel underpinned by Spiller’s rolled ‘Rs’ and with a question posed by the song’s title, challenging the listener knowing damn well that you don’t possess anything to become a primadonna like him. Not a chance. Check out the video below and look out for a much-loved star in a cameo appearance.

“In Love With The Camera” needs little by way of explanation except for the fact that Luke Spiller is on top form. Gentle and stable when required but then a screaming falsetto to ram home the point. Not quite Justin Hawkins level, but worthy of comparison all the same. On top of all that, there’s the catchiest of riffs supplied by Addo Slack. Top work all round.

The fuzzbox is made full use of on “Bulletproof Boys” but somehow the song isn’t a sleazefest. It’s a slow but still heavy chantathon with lyrics and shouts containing some words I’ve never even heard of.

Funk meets disco meets rock to great effect on “Who Am I?”. Jed Elliott is channeling his inner  John Deacon and it’s great fun. You can’t help but tap feet, nod head and clap hands to this one.

Where The Struts get their catchiness tunes from is anybody’s guess, but each song draws you in and “People” is no exception. ‘Unremarkable’ may be a bit harsh on this track but there’s nothing to make it stand out. However, it still got me singing along and wondering about the effect it would have in a live setting. I think we all know the answer to that one.

When it comes to standing out, though, “Fire (Part 1)” does that in spades. Pace and passion aplenty with great riffing and even a rare commodity so far, a guitar solo! The power is supplied by the quality drumming of Gethin Davis who performs superbly throughout Young and Dangerous.

It’s ballad time next and we have the treat that is “Somebody New”. Perfectly pitched, intense and non-hysterical. A straight-up killer emotional track. Addo Slack’s guitaring is beautiful too, whether at the forefront or in a supporting role.

“Tatler Magazine” is The Struts “Millionaire Waltz” or “Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon” when Queen decided they were to be quintessentially English. The song may be heavier than those two tracks, but the feel is definitely there, down to the odd nod to Brian May with riff breaks and the solo.

“I Do It So Well” is a bit of a mishmash of funk, sleaze and rock which marginally misses the target, unfortunately. However, after six songs of no soloing to speak of, there’s now been four on the trot, which made my heart happier.

“Freak Like You” is an homage to being different and proud of it. Another chantathon we can all raise our glasses to.

To finish the album proper we have “Ashes (Part 2)” which slows the pace down at first but then explodes into action to provide a superb emotional powerful climax full of bombast.

Some may call it a bonus but to have “Body Talks (Feat. Kesha)” as the final track doesn’t really bring too much to the party. Kesha does actually improve the song in fact and if it was up to me I’d just have this version, but it wouldn’t open this, mostly, excellent album.

With Young and Dangerous, out now on Interscope Records, The Struts have avoided the dreaded sophomore syndrome and come up with an outstanding album full of fist-pumping chants and hooks.

The Struts are touring extensively now until mid-2019, I’ve got my ticket, have you?

BUY: Young and Dangerous

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