Friday, 18 September 2009

The Strange Boys

One of the best gigs I caught this year was when Austin Texas four piece garage band The Strange Boys played Newcastle a few months ago. What struck me most was how natural they were yet at the same time completely wrapped up in their own world, it's usually a bad thing when a band make no concession's towards it's audience what so ever, with these guys though it just made them all the more endearing. And on top of what was already a winning formula of raw garage with a sweet melodic melancholic twist that had the crowd captivated. Singer Ryan Sambol's genius weird vocals alone were worth the ticket price.

The first time I really paid any attention to the band was earlier in the year when at a music seminar with Geoff Travis of Rough trade (the man who signed The Smiths, The Fall, The Strokes amongst others) Geoff was asked by a member of the crowd which bands were exciting him at the minute, to which he responded by singing the praises of The Strange Boys. So the investigation began. Mark a friend of mine gave me a promo copy of the bands debut album 'The Strange Boys and Girls Club' (on the ever reliable IN THE RED label) and informed me that he was trying to book the band for a Newcastle date. Excited I put the album on the stereo and was instantly disappointed by the rather average indie jangle that came from the speakers. The weird thing is that's its only the first track that is not outstanding - bizarrely the rest of the record is a wonderful collection of authentic nuggets style garage racket crossed with heartwarming bitter sweet and soulful guitar pop of the finest calibre. It's a grower and it really gets under the skin, I cant recommend this record enough. Elements I've fallen in love with include The Brian Jones style early Rolling Stones R&B guitar sounds, the schitzo vocals that veer from insanity to beauty, and the raw naked songs themselves.

Many people on initial listen have told me they think the band are a sub standard Black lips, yet the very same people have come back weeks later and said they were wrong and they now prefer The Strange Boys to the Black lips since the songs start to grow in beauty and brilliance with each repeat play.

I cant get enough of this record.

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