Critical Voices: The Struts, Everybody Wants

March 18, 2016


Long hair, leather jackets, cigarettes, dark eye shadow—it would appear that classic rock is making a comeback. Imagine a blend of The Rolling Stones, Queen and Oasis and you might be getting close to the sound of Everybody Wants, the new release by English band The Struts. The music of lead vocalist Luke Spiller, guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliot, and drummer Gethin Davies revive the power and catchiness that the aforementioned staples of rock were known for, while simultaneously remaining surprisingly modern. Dangerous, glamorous, and innovative, the album is a success.

The work kicks off with “Roll Up”, a fast-paced, energizing number. When belting, Luke Spiller’s vocals bear an uncanny resemblance to those of Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen. The depth and tone of Spiller’s voice, especially when hitting lines such as “Nobody will stop me,” is strikingly similar to Mercury’s on “Don’t Stop Me Now.” However, as the song progresses, the Brits branch further away from Queen, demonstrating that they possess a sound all their own. The band has a more frenzied feel; the guitars and drums pound whereas Queen was known for staccato breaks and pauses that punctuated their lines, The Struts forge ahead in their legato screamed phrases.

“Kiss This” breaks off of Queen territory and enters the domain of The Rolling Stones. The uptempo guitar and tambourine used lend this track a vibe similar to “Sympathy for the Devil.” However, the higher, strained register Spiller employs serves to differentiate The Struts from The Stones. Spiller’s gritty voice is on full display as he sings “I, Did all I could, So kiss this one more time, Cause’ I’m gone for good.” “Kiss This” is currently the top-selling song for The Struts on Itunes, displaying that this traditional bad-boy rocker image is a hit among listeners.

“She Makes Me Feel Like” is a refreshing twist, as the track veers away from the heavy rocker vibe that permeates Everybody Wants. Here, The Struts demonstrate their versatility by putting forth a romantic song. The frequent whistling and upbeat, catchy guitar chords clash with the roughness in Spiller’s voice. The juxtaposition created by Spiller’s tone makes for a surprising twist to the typical, jovial love song.

“Only Just a Call Away” and “Mary Go Round” are highlights of the album. Unlike “Roll Up,” “Kiss This,” and “She Makes Me Feel,” these songs can’t be compared to other bands’; they are undoubtedly The Struts. “Mary Go Round” begins with an acoustic guitar and deep strings. The softness of the background allows the beauty of Spiller’s voice to shine through. Even when the song peaks and raises in dynamics, the tempo is still languid.. The strain in Spiller’s voice conveys a nearly unmatchable passion.

“Only Just a Call Away” similarly begins at a more leisurely pace. Like “Mary Go Round,” “Only Just a Call Away” opens with a softer instrument dynamic, allowing Spiller’s voice to once again be the center of attention. This song combines the best of the track: it employs the positivity and catchiness of “She Makes Me Feel Like” and combines it with the screeching, authentic tone of “Kiss This” and the slower pace and passion of “Mary Go Round”. The track also has a killer electric guitar riff, solidifying the band’s rock label.

The primary flaw of this album is that it lacks a cohesive sound or message. Overall, however, the tracks are strong in terms of conveying passion and delivering fresh, current music; the album revisits  the sounds of great rock bands while simultaneously delivering a fresh and unique feeling that is all The Struts. Everybody Wants has songs for the hard rockers and the hopeless romantics alike. These Brits are going places, and I know I will be along for the ride, excited to see how their music grows and transforms in the future.


Voice’s Choices: “Mary Go Round” and “Roll Up”

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