The Struts look for voice on sophomore effort

Photo courtesy of the Interscope

On the heels of a successful tour with the Foo Fighters and a performance in front of 80,000 people while opening for the Rolling Stones, the Struts released their second full length album “Young & Dangerous,” a record full of stadium-ready rock anthems anchored by heavy guitar.

The album is essentially two projects in one. The halves are capped by the songs “Fire (Part 1)” and “Ashes (Part 2).” The first half comes out swinging with two singles, “Body Talks” and “Primadonna Like Me.” These singles are full of influence from other bands.

“Body Talks” could easily be something off of a Strokes album stitched together with the opening riff of Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.” That being said, the song is full of energy, making it a great choice to open the album. It is fast, fun and sets a great tone for the rest of the first half.

Much of the first half of the album toes a line between alternative rock and hard electric guitar-driven rock reminiscent of the 70s and 80s. Beyond the Rolling Stones, the influence of Queen, Led Zepplin, Journey and other 70s rock bands is prominent.

“Fire (Part 1)” provides a tonal shift in the album. The song itself takes the heavy baseline and some loud guitar riffs characteristic of the first half of the album and tones them down just a little. This softer rock carries into and is characteristic of the second half of the album.

This softer tone is more reminiscent of a band like Train, but for the aggressive vocals of singer Luke Spiller. This new style is no better exemplified than by the first song after “Fire (Part 1)” called “Somebody New.”

The song “Tatler Magazine” is one of the most interesting on the album. On the track, Spiller does one of his best impressions of childhood idol, Freddie Mercury. Beyond that though, the song is truly an epic piece that Mercury and the rest of Queen would be proud of.

Generally, “Young & Dangerous,” represents the Struts taking steps beyond their freshman effort and truly shows off the time that they have spent touring with big names, learning and improving on their craft.

That being said, the album leaves something to be desired. Most, if not all of the songs can easily be imagined to have been released by a different popular band. In fact, some of the melodies seem to be heavily inspired by, if not almost lifted from earlier hits.

That is not to say that the album is bad. On the contrary, the songs are complex and get better with each successive listen. Also, there are many instances where the voice that the Struts continue to develop shines through, and those are some of the most compelling and promising parts of the new album.

Overall, “Young & Dangerous” is a great second effort from a band with lots of talent and promise. It is stuffed with great, entertaining songs that have the capacity to provide for fantastic live shows. Still, one hopes that this is not the end of the developmental road for the struts.

The formula for “Young & Dangerous” is a winning one already, but throw in some more originality and a real compelling reason to listen to this over its influences, and the Struts will truly have an amazing act.