The Strypes: Snapshot – review

(Virgin EMI)

The Strypes don't say much in interviews, but one thing they articulate quite clearly is that they couldn't care less what anyone no longer a teenager thinks of them. Call them derivative – which they are, in a third-hand way, a rehash of the nostalgic 1970s pub-rock rehash of 1950s/60s R&B – and they will shrug and say rock'n'roll was ever thus. They're right, of course, but if anyone is going to choose to listen to their albums over Bo Diddley's they're going to have to learn something fundamental about R&B fast. What gives this music character is innuendo; the Strypes' hormone-free take on You Can't Judge a Book By the Cover shows how little they appreciate this. So does an unintentionally hilarious lyric in their song Blue Collar Jane: "She just wants the milk and sugar but all I want is her", in which the milk and sugar really are just the stuff you put in tea. That lack of nuance characterises their playing, too: it's all meaty, squalling guitar riffs, foghorn blasts of harmonica, and a confusion of solid speed with actual excitement.


Maddy Costa

The GuardianTramp

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