“Snapshot” – The Strypes

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I typically only do album reviews for records that have come out in the past week or two, but this one was just too good to ignore. The Strypes are an Irish four-piece rock band (guitar, drums, bass, vocals), and I would have never heard of them if it hadn’t been for their feature in the most recent issue of Rolling Stone. At first, I wrote them off as another throw-away blues band, considering how terribly misleading Rolling Stone music reviews are. Luckily, my view on the band completely changed when I actually gave them a chance. Although the Strypes sound just like any other late ’60s throwback blues rock band, what really sets them apart from their counterparts is the fact that the band members are only between 16 and 18 years old! The raw talent of each member at such a young age is truly awe-inspiring.

Like I said, the band’s debut album, Snapshot, was released in North America back on March 18, and it sounds like a mix of the hard-rocking elements of Jet with the blues twang of the Rolling Stones (termed “speed blues”). Lead vocalist Ross Farrelly’s vocal delivery and harmonica solos, mixed with lead guitarist Josh McClorey’s blistering leads, bassist Pete O’Hanlon’s constantly walking basslines, and drummer Evan Walsh’s incredibly tight fills make this album sound astonishingly mature. In fact, if you just listened to this record without looking up a picture of the band, you would have no idea that they’re all under 20 years old.

The Strypes also threw on a few classic rhythm and blues covers (“You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover” and “Rollin’ And Tumblin'”), but with their own rock interpretations. No doubt that these are the types of songs the band draws on as primary influences. The only complaint to be made about Snapshot is that the band relies a bit too heavily on 12-bar blues. It is more than okay to write one song with this chord progression (especially considering it’s the most popular progression in music), but when you have five songs on your record that all sound the same, it gets a bit tiresome. Despite this, the Strypes have put out a masterful piece of work, and I am very excited to see what these Irishmen have in store as they mature in the coming years (literally).

-Joe MacPhee

Recommended Jams: Blue Collar Jane, What The People Don’t See, Perfect Storm

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