The Strange Boys - Live Music - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Strange Boys - Live Music

by Miz DeShannon Rating:6 Release Date:2011-10-24

You'd think that living in Texas a band would have a lot more influences to follow than the drunken antics of our very own Pete Doherty et al. Not speaking on behalf of them, of course, but it seems The Strange Boys have swallowed a dictionary on 'How to Sound Like The Libertines' for their third album.

Live Music (as in "live here" rather than "playing live") has an upbeat start with 'Me and You' but immediately the vocal says 'Pete Doherty'. 'Punk's Pajamas' has a token harmonica intro, and branches into more upbeat feel with simple drums and a catchy melody. Unfortunately, however, this is the point at which it all started reminding me of The Libertines. There's something in the pitch of Sambol's vocal sliding to hit notes that is very similar, and once you spot it, it doesn't go away. They've thrown a few bits of harmonica and country-esque guitar riffs here and there to make their sound slightly different, but only on a couple of songs like 'Walking Two By Two' and 'Doueh'.

Sounding a bit 60s French pop, the guitar plucking on 'You and Me' makes for a slow and thoughtful song, whilst 'Omnia Boa' is definitely country rock, with a moving-shaking-dancing type riff, again Libertines-y. The vocal definitely has the same pained groan to reach notes and slides from one to the other, sounding somewhat drunk and maybe a bit Bob Dylan. The build-up of intensity towards the end of songs like this and 'You Take Everything for Granite When You're Stone' is even more so. There's a good piano intro on 'Saddest', but it got me thinking of Rod Stuart's 70s hits. There's a surprising breakdown midway through with strings and humming harmonies which seems quite adventurous considering the rest of the standard standards in this album, but then come a promt return to the homage to Rod.

Halfway through the album and everything is starting to sound pretty much the same: a bit country, a bit indie, not very garage and not very exciting. However, the last song on the album, 'Opus', all of a sudden does make things a little exciting, with some quite creative weird noises and instrumental meanderings. The Strange Boys aren't as psych influenced as fellow Texan bands of recent years; less garage, definitely more country. Some twangs of guitar on intros and certain drum beats have this influence, and they've got the same drawly sound as last album. Think of their hit 'Be Brave'.

Live Music is a listenable album, but isn't anything particularly exciting and doesn't seem like a development in sound; it's just competent music. If you were a fan of The Libertines' drawl, you'll be a fan of this. Sadly, the dragged vocal becomes irritating after a few songs, and there are 14 of them to get through. It'd be good background music, but is nothing to shout about. Some songs are good, some really aren't. The six-piece seem to have the knack of making a good intro or middle-eight, but they generally relax into the same tapping tempo throughout. They've a very basic way of writing, and not in an interesting way, in an immature copy-cat style. Songs can be simple yet interesting, and these just sound like you've heard them all before.

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