As you will probably be aware, The Strypes are a four piece 60s infused RnB band from Cavan in Ireland with an average of 15. They have recently been signed to Mercury records and have had the likes of Noel Gallagher, Elton John and Paul Weller attending their gigs. It is fair to say they are probably the most hyped band since The Arctic Monkeys and with all this in mind when they came to town it was a gig that had to be checked out.
Having already completed a sold out matinee performance they bowled on stage in impeccable two piece mod suits, ray bans and perfect mop top barnets. My attention was already got. They eye balled the crowd and launched into Chuck Berry number ‘Little Queenie’ and then straight into ‘Blue Collar Jane’. I found it mesmerising to watch; the attitude, style and the musicianship. Their look is sorted. The mod thing may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and many will turn their nose up at it. Of course everyone has an opinion but to deny these boys look anything less than cool as fuck would reek of jealousy and contempt. I’m fully aware there will plenty who do fall into this bracket, however.
It’s almost depressing how naturally they can pull it all off for their age. I was out in white jeans and snide Ralf Lauren shirts drinking shite cider in the park when I was their age. And surely that’s normal? Having the savvy to be able to sport clobber and barnets like these was a good few years away, if indeed I ever got there. Never mind having the nous to know who Bo Diddly or Leiber & Stoller were, I was buzzing off Cast and Charlatans records. I still am to be honest though so maybe I’m not best placed to comment on ‘cool’. But here I am anyway so let’s get on with it.….
On the whole the gig was top. As they played you can tell confidence is sky high and their youthful exuberance seeped out. All 4 members have their own individual identities which is a rare thing in today’s music scene. Guitarist Josh McClorey (guitars, vocals) initially is the one who grabs the attention. He raised himself on the monitors to show himself off even more and eyeballed the front with zig zagging movements reminiscent of Wilco Johnson. Evan Walsh (drums) kept the beat with aplomb and as the gig went on bass player Pete O’Hanlon came to the fore with amazing energy and passion not to mention the amazing dexterity of his playing. Ross Farrely (lead vocals, harmonica, percussion) remained emotionless throughout akin to a young Liam Gallagher and speechless in between numbers but when he sang showed off a classic gravelling RnB voice and his harmonica playing topping that off.
I’ve seen countless ‘mod revival’ bands and will probably see countless more but The Strypes hold something different. They have the potential to breathe life into what, for me, is a pretty dull alternative music scene. Yes, there is some great stuff out there but the whole scene lacks a talisman and ‘proper’ rock n roll swagger. There is a load of great new music coming out and if you can be arsed to search through the shite you will find some real gems, but in the main the scene lacks energy, style and substance. To put The Strypes into the bracket of saviours may be a bit jumping the gun a bit, but they certainly have all the ingredients and are in with a shot.
Although The Strypes are playing predominantly covers, they make them sound relevant. The true acid test will come when they will have to start putting together an album mainly of their own work. If they have to get a bit of help with writing, in the way Jake Bugg or Kings of Leon did when starting out then so be it. It has been rumoured Noel Gallagher has turned down the opportunity to write for them stating “that’s cheating”. That potentially could’ve been brilliant.
Being signed to Mercury suggests they will have the backing to make it, and that is good. I hope the hype is worth it and they can carry it forward and turn their talent and style into something special. I’d love to be seeing them top of the bill at Glastonbury in 10 years’ time, as opposed to an early evening slot at The Southport Scooter Rally.