This North American reissue of The Struts 2014 debut album “Everybody Wants” features 5 new tracks while dropping 3 from the original, all newly remastered. The new material sits well with the earlier tracks, and creates a very tight package that I assume is aimed at raising the band’s profile on the American market.
The album’s uptempo opener “Roll Up” is the slickest produced; its mix of glam rock and dance music an unlikely combination that the band delivers with ease. It’s followed by the three strongest tracks from the album (and they were featured on last year’s EP Have You Heard): “Could Have Been Me”, with its uplifting lyrics as singer Luke Spiller passionately pleads “I wanna live better days / Never look back and say / Could have been me”, the furiously funky “Kiss Me” and “Put Your Money on Me” on which the band confidently struts (pun intended) their stuff.
The introspective “Mary Go Round” is the first new track, a tale of heartache that contrasts with the happy go lucky vibe of the album. It exposes another side of The Struts, one that’s more vulnerable and not bolstered by the bravado of youth. Most of the time, The Struts sing of life, success and sex with the arrogance of youth, and we might not have seen such exuberance since the heyday of the hair bands. While they never become crass like the worst of that era, “Dirty Sexy Money” would have fit comfortably on any of those records.
One thing The Struts do very well is choruses that seem tailor-made to be sung along by thousands, and on that front, “The Ol’ Switcheroo”, “She Makes Me Feel Like”, “These Times Are Changing” and “Young Stars” . A track like “Black Swan” shows that the band is also able to integrate more modern influences, while “Only Just Call Away” flirts with the stylings of the big power ballads.
The album ends of a high note with another sing along chorus on the energetic “Where Did She Go”. The Struts’ music isn’t anything you’ve never heard before, but it’s so well done, with a contagious sense of fun that you won’t care. And it’s not like they ever sound like their influences; you may very well be able to pick a number of their influences, from 70’s glam rock to Queen to 90’s indie rock, but they’re always able to mix it up and make it their own. I can’t even begin to express how fun this record is.
The Struts have the swagger of huge rock stars of the old days, even though they’re still relatively unknown. Everybody Wants The Struts? Maybe not now, but they will. Because I can’t imagine a future where The Struts aren’t mega stars. And I’d bet a dollar they can’t either.