The Struts: Young & Dangerous album review

Walk this way: superlative second album from fast-rising Derby rockers The Struts

The Struts - Young & Dangerous

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The Struts - Young & Dangerous

The Struts - Young & Dangerous

1. Body Talks
2. Primadonna Like Me
3. In Love With A Camera
4. Bulletproof Baby
5. Who Am I?
6. People
7. Fire (Part 1)
8. Somebody New
9. Tatler Magazine
10. I Do It So Well
11. Freak Like You
12. Ashes (Part 2)
13. Body Talks ft. Kesha

Boasting a stash of killer tunes and a frontman in Luke Spiller who combines the flamboyance of Freddie Mercury with the vocal ability of Steven Tyler, The Struts should, by rights, already be the global stars they imagine they are. 

Having relocated to LA in 2015, they’ve spent the past three years in self-imposed exile, learning their chops on extensive tours with rock heavyweights – The Who, Guns N’ Roses and Foo Fighters. Such a steep learning curve hasn’t been wasted on them, because their second album is stadium sized in every respect. 

From the opening bars of Body Talks it’s clear instantly that this is a quantum leap forward from their 2014 debut Everybody Wants. The sleaziest of guitar riffs snakes its way around an irresistible Lust For Lifestyle groove, over which Spiller drawls: ‘You can pretend you don’t want it!’ like Iggy on Viagra stumbling into a #MeToo seminar. It’s both brazen and brilliant, and alerts you to the fact that this is a band who really mean business. 

Recorded in LA, Nashville, Miami, Jersey and Bournemouth, with producers Butch Walker (Weezer, Panic! At the Disco) and Sam Hollander (Neon Trees), Young & Dangerous sounds fantastic, its sledgehammer pop crunch delivered with analogue warmth designed to hit a deep vein of joy in any fan of rock’s golden age (Queen, Thin Lizzy, Faces et al). 

Not that The Struts have retreated down a retro wormhole. She’s In Love With A Camera and Who Am I are bubblegum classics which chart Spiller’s frustrations with selfie culture and identity politics, while the anthemic Freak Like Me plays on rock’s new-found status as cultural underdog. 

In an age where hip-hop and pop have become the Instagram generation’s soundtrack of choice, The Struts’ refusal to toe the line becomes more thrilling with every knowing nod to rock’s sepia-tinted past, from the Gimme Shelter intro to Primadonna Like Me to the Baba O’Rileyesque coda of Ashes (Part 2)

While comparisons to The Darkness are unavoidable (Permission To Land is the obvious sonic touchstone), the sheer joie de vivre on Young & Dangerous ensures that it never sounds second-hand. Like all great albums, it reminds you of everything that made you fall in love with this crazy thing called rock’n’roll in the first place.

Paul Moody is a writer whose work has appeared in the Classic Rock, NME, Time Out, Uncut, Arena and the Guardian. He is the co-author of The Search for the Perfect Pub and The Rough Pub Guide.