The Struts “Young & Dangerous” (2018)

     By now, we have established that the British glam rock act the Struts is my favorite contemporary act.  No other band blends new with old quite like they do, and certainly not with the flair and drama Luke Spiller and the band brings to the stage every night.  Best experienced in a live setting, their music translates well to the studio as well.  Their second album, “Young & Dangerous” isn’t quite as consistently great as “Everything Wants”, but there are many tracks on this album I rate equally high.  As it turns out, I will take several of these on in several groupings.

     Starting things off, the first two songs are “Body Talks” and “Primadonna Like Me”.  In recent concerts, they have been opening their shows with these two songs in reverse order, and if it was my choice, I would have done the same on the album.  “Body Talks” is definitely a fun song, including the alternate mix featuring Kesha, but “Primadonna Like Me” is the perfect song to start any show or album.  High octane and brimming with the ridiculousness of Luke at his flamboyant best, this song ranks with “Kiss This” as the rocker I share with any new fan I’m trying to introduce the band on the rowdier end of things.  Like always, Adam Slack and Jed Elliott drive the pace in tandem, and their ability to rock on guitar and bass while filling in high quality backing vocals is fantastic.

    “Bulletproof Baby”, “People”, and “Freak Like You” are three songs that speak to another element I love about the band.  No matter your age, race, gender, preference, shape, size, or style, everyone is welcomed and usually spotted at a Struts show.  I love the diversity of their crowd, and these songs all speak to acceptance and not giving a damn what anyone else thinks as long as you are making yourself happy.  “Freak Like You”, in particular, is a really great track, and “Bulletproof Baby” has my favorite Gethin Davies drum fill.

     Luke Spiller, the lead vocalist, is truly the center of attention of the band, and it is both beautiful and highly entertaining to watch him do this thing and hold court for the audience.  “In Love With a Camera”, “Tatler Magazine”, and “I Do It So Well” all play into the vanity and adoration of celebrity.  In my opinion, some vanity and confidence is healthy when blended and balanced with humility and self-awareness, and I think Luke and the Struts “do it so well”.

     “Fire – Part 1” and “Ashes – Part 2” are not my favorite songs musically, as they drift a bit further towards pop and away from guitar rock, but they are both very well written, and go well together as a two-piece vignette.  “Fire – Part 1” celebrates a relationship at its highest point, and “Ashes – Part 2” brings you back down to the canyon of sadness.  Emotions and music go hand-in-hand, and that ride is represented here in a meaningful and powerful way.

     “Somebody New” stands alone from the rest of the album.  It happens to be one of the best songs they have ever written, featuring Luke on piano, and like many other songs, this power ballad captures a feeling and an emotion.  In this case, the song speaks to the devastation of a failed relationship and the self-acknowledgment you just might not be ready to commit your heart again, even if some other willing party is there and eager to try.

     As you have figured out by now, I love everything about this band, and “Young & Dangerous” is no exception.  At the beginning of the pandemic, they recorded a third album, “Strange Days”, in ten days of isolated lockdown.  It is a different record, rawer in its production, and contains collaborations with Robbie Williams, Joe Elliott & Phil Collen, Tom Morello, and Albert Hammond Jr. They even recorded a single with Paris Jackson as well, and their reputation as top-notch performers continues to grow. They continue to tour and deliver their formula of fun to venues around the world, and if you get the chance, I hope you take my word for it and check them out.  I don’t think you will be disappointed at all.

Published by tacopepper

A music fan...

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