The Struts are one of those groups that seem as if they’ve been around forever. Expertly channeling the glammy musical excess of Queen, the Derby, England quartet burst onto the pop music landscape with 2014’s Everybody Wants. That album charted modestly in the UK and Canada, faring better (#15) on the US rock charts. Ahead of their US tour, the group reissued Everybody Wants earlier this year, adding five songs and new, more provocative album art to the set.
The group’s approach is straightforward: cranking out melodic, anthemic arena rock, they swing for the fences with every track. Big guitars (think of Boston) meet massed vocal choruses (shades of glam heroes Slade) and infectious melodies that stick in the listener’s head (not unlike Sweet‘s biggest hits of the 1970s). But there’s a modern sensibility to the group’s sound that helps The Struts steer clear of overt nostalgia. The group’s well-crafted songs often recall Oasis at their best, or the inerrant sense of melody that’s a characteristic of Supergrass.
Occasionally, lead vocalist Luke Spiller sounds perhaps a bit too much like Freddie Mercury, but the group’s original songs – which don’t overtly ape Queen’s sound – help the group maintain its own identity. On record, their aesthetic comes through loud and clear: just from the production and arrangement of their songs, one can pretty well imagine how The Struts look onstage. They proudly take their sartorial cues from Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler.
The expanded Everybody Wants keeps the wattage turned up full for most of its 13 tracks; even when they engage in some power-balladeering (“Only Just a Call Away”), it’s a high-energy affair. Insistent hand claps show up on nearly every song: this is music designed for sing- or shout-along audience participation.
In a musical world that’s often in search of the Next Big Thing, The Struts head in the opposite direction, crafting something that – while technically new – aims instead to deliver the carefree exuberance of vintage arena rock, updated for modern audiences.