Little Victories by The Strypes – Review
By now everyone should be familiar with The Strypes. You know them, four Irish lads just creating some awesome garage tunes — it’s pretty much all they’ve been doing since they were born. They shot to fame for their established sound, bluesy-rock, harmonica, all completed with mini mohair suits. Touring before they have even entered their teens, they cemented their place on the Irish music scene before they had even started secondary school. It was around 2012 that they really grew in terms of popularity, exploding onto the British music scene with their style of rip-roar blues and rock. Arguably, their sound was likened to the style of the Stones, and their debut album, Snapshot, earned a spot to the early days of the Yardbirds, Dr Feelgood and the Jam.
So that’s all you need to know about the Strypes, right? Wrong.
Now at the ripe old age of eighteen, the lads have managed to dominate Ireland, England, and Japan. What was left for them to do only to take everything we know about them and invert it, flip it upside down, and turn it inside out. Their new album, Little Victories, is an extension of the sound we became familiar with but with all the bite of a 21st century rock album, think Arctic Monkeys but with a tinge of blues thrown in for good measure. Little Victories culminates in twelve reasons why one should never be limited to one style, regardless of how successful it is.
There’s a more informed element to this album, the sound cleaner, the roar of guitar is most earth-shattering, and even the deliciously sleazy swamp rock that can be found on ‘Status Update’ veers just perfectly between devilishly bad and lyrically brilliant. The swirl of drums and the lick of guitar work together beautifully on tracks like ‘I Need to Be Your Only’ and ‘Best Man’.
However, there is a degree of idolisation at play, as already mentioned, they do play up to a sort of Arctic Monkeys sound but it almost too prevalent in ‘Get Into It’. Similarly, ‘(I Wanna Be Your) Everyday’ is more of a homage to the Beatles than the Strypes being the Strypes. Yet, when they lean just right, etch out the shapes of their idols in their sound ever so gently, one can see strands of the Kinks and Oasis emerging in tracks such ‘Cruel Brunette’ and ‘Queen of the Half Crown’ but not overwhelming the sound.
For only their second album at such a young age, it’s quite well-formed, yet it doesn’t operate as a standalone track just as much as it should. Lead guitarist, Josh McClorey, admits, ‘We’ve grown up, musically. It’s just a progression. It’s like comparing what we were listening to when we were 12 and 13 to what we’re listening to now. It’s obviously going to be different.’
This album marks the progression of the Strypes as a band, undoubtedly, but they still have a ways to go and loosen up the apron strings a little further.
‘Little Victories’ is released on 21 August on Virgin EMI. They headline The Academy, Dublin on 24 September.
Review by Elaine McDonald