Austin’s very own The Strange Boys finally have an album for everyone to share with their friends, though we suggest doing so in a legal manner. After all the waiting, we finally get to see what these young gents have to offer us all; it’s precisely what we all expected, and this is meant in an endearing fashion.
One of the first things most listeners will come across is that the album sounds a bit muddy, as if the boys dragged these songs from beneath a rock on the patio of your favorite dive bar. It’s a taste that most listeners will have to endure, but many more will find rewarding.
Similarly, listeners will likely complain that singer Ryan Sambol’s vocals are a little bit shattering. At times his lyrics are downright hard to decipher, drowned in a Southern sort of drawl, and drawn out until the very last possible syllable. Still, if you give it a bit of love and devotion, it’s bound to worm its way into your heart.
Where precisely would one place the music on this record? Besides Austin? Well, step back into the storied history of a struggling middle class during the sixties. Turn right just past the nearest alley, and walk into the dingy bar filling with smoke as we speak. Here you will find the band and their album and Girls Club. It’s a dense sound, filled with frustration, fear and a destiny all of its own; a destiny soaked, more often than not, in debauchery.
Similarities abound, especially when one focuses on some of the melodic moments, such as the guitar during “No Way for a Slave to Behave,” which resembles the last era of the great American sock-hop. It swings you left and right, as you grab the girl nearest you. If it didn’t have that raw emotion and production, one might find such a song on American Bandstand.
Blues and R&B elements are also in abundance, making one reminisce for the legendary days where teenagers snuck off to cozy up to their romantic interest such as on the song “This Girls Taught Me a Dance.” Even with such elements, they band pull out little rays of sunlight with the guitar work, creating moving songs intended for masses motivated for the subversive culture.
Combine this all with various other classic rock n’ roll elements, and by that we reference Chuck Berry, not your local station that plays everything by the Eagles. It’s a fusion of everything dirty about the story of rock n’ roll, and even the lyrics seem to draw from a day when causing a ruckus was more of just a good time as opposed to a violent act. Stories of stealing girls from their man along with serving time don’t seem to revel in senseless crimes, rather the need for diversion in the sterile world. Use hit song “Heard You Want to Beat Me Up” as an example for such lyrical meanderings.
And the story is written. You find yourself slowly warming up to a band intent upon returning to the day when music not only had artistic elements, but moments devoted purely to the enjoyment to those on stage and in an audience. Every twist and turn, every influence, and every word will make you yearn for precisely the same thing, and you’ll want to share it with the band.