Review Summary: Copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a...
Disclaimer: The following wall of text is essentially my attempt to communicate just how dismal The Strypes are without coming across like a pompous, swollen-headed douche. See, this Irish foursome have a host of defense batteries - more, perhaps, than any other band in recent memory - for the deluded to fall on and cling to, effectively meaning they're difficult to slag off without becoming embroiled in a bitter, principle-themed war of attrition.
They're young, see. As in, like, really
young. I'm talking still at school young. College perhaps, but university? Not even close. Of course, this naturally means they're exempt from any form of criticism whatsoever. How could you - they're only kids! You'd have to be a real meanie not to encourage them at all costs, or to bring them up to speed with harsh reality - that being they're basically shi
te. It'd be even less wise to take a stab at their unashamed rhythm and blues retroism because... y'know... ROCK 'N' ROLL WILL NEVER DIE! etc etc etc. Besides, a bunch of younglings playing 'real' instruments without the aid of sonic luxuries or indulgent production wizardry is a genuinely different, refreshing and edgy commodity these days, right? Oh, and obviously, how could you be so stupid as to judge them based on their records? You have to experience them LIVE; sample the raucous energy, the transcendent feelgood vibes, the raw fundamentals which define rock 'n' roll in all its heroic, timeless and rebellious glory.
Nah. Sorry. I'm not having it. Truth is, I couldn't care less about The Strypes electric stage presence, not when scarcely a hint has translated onto their shoddy, half-arsed abortion of an LP. I don't care whether they're yet to develop full complements of pubic - never mind facial - hair. I hardly think it unreasonable to expect a group bordering on adulthood to display a level of self-consciousness, even if its only to drop the Inbetweeners-meets-Outnumbered look depicted on that godawful cover. And for the love of Christ, I don't give a rat's cunt how 'authentic' they are, how deeply they've delved into their grandparents record collections, nor indeed how well they know their late '50s and early '60s greats.
No, I'm afraid I haven't a good word to say about a band who think mindless imitation - and let's be clear, that's the be all and end all of what they do - equates to worthwhile music. In fact, more than anything else, Snapshot
strikes me as a gross misunderstanding of what makes great rock 'n' roll (or any music, for that matter) so great. Simply put, The Strypes exist in a banal, colourless world where notions such as ambition, creativity and laying your own path are taboo; a world depressingly evocative of the revivalist nonsense which dominated British pubs in the '70s, the obvious difference being they're not barred from the premises after watershed. It's almost as though the past half-century of musical progress has counted for nothing. Punk, prog, hip-hop, metal, soul; these are all distant, alien concepts, and while it'd certainly be wrong to call any of them greater or lesser than R&B, it's difficult not to sympathise with a gang inhabiting such a culturally deprived environment.
And the lyrics. Oh lord, the lyrics. We had to get to them at some point. "Blue Collar Jane / Lives in 54 / Always has a teacup when she knocks upon my door / She just wants milk and sugar but all I want is her
." Riveting stuff. "All we could be / B-L-U-E / C-O-L-L-A-R oh baby please
." Give me strength. "She doesn't like to talk but she likes to dance all night / She doesn't like the dark but she likes it when I turn out the lights
." Stop kid. Just stop. You're 16. This is like when we used to berate Bieber for singing about his long lost lovers whilst still curled up in a metaphorical womb, but obviously this lot are excused because, y'know, they wield guitars and harmonicas and all that.
You know what? I'm not bothered if I'm failing to fulfill the mantra spelled out at the beginning. Fuc
k it, maybe I am a dick? All I know is that The Strypes, their tactless apery and their cheap knocked-off record offend me on a level vapid, manufactured mainstream turds can only dream of; that 'Angel Eyes' makes me want to gouge out my own eyes by seemingly lasting three times its four minute allotment; that Rollin' and Tumblin's plethora of false endings feel like being subjected to one last bout of auditory torture before the light at the end of the tunnel.
It's tempting to suggest they've simply been born into the wrong era, but this speculation is stubbed out once you actually consider what would have happened had they emerged in '55. The answer, quite frankly, is they wouldn't have emerged at all - not without an existing template to suck dry, distill of all life and toss out as a half-hour jumble of bored-sounding castoffs. Fast forward a decade or two, and things wouldn't be any rosier. They'd sound like an above average school band at best, and let's be honest; above average school bands are still utter guff. '80s? '90s? They'd be laughed out of the room. '00s, at the heart of Britian's indie/guitar music revival? Straight to the bargain bins, and deservedly so. It's our job to make sure they don't fare any better this time around.