Strung Out has been together for almost 30 years –You would be forgiven for thinking they are a new band such is the energy of these songs. Produced by Cameron Webb, who was behind the helm of 2009’s Agents of the Underground, it’s a record that has the fire of a new band.
The band are older (obviously) and dare I say it wiser. Yet they play like young men musically and lyricly they view a “big Picture” as they struggle to make sense of the chaos of the world we live in.
Much of frontman Cruz’s lyrics come from the death of someone he was incredibly close to. That’s something which has exaggerated and exacerbated Cruz’s emotional fragility and continues the spiritual and philosophical journey he says he’s found himself on in recent years. At the same time, though, these songs are also infused with a spirit of hope and defiance.
“I lost my best friend six or seven months ago,” explains Cruz. “It was right before we started writing this record, and that really put a shadow on things. Some of these songs – especially “Monuments” and “Bloody Knuckles” – reflect that loss. But that’s what’s always made our band work. The music is this metal machine and then you get these vocals that express this vulnerability in a melodic way – and there’s love and there’s searching in all that machine. This record starts out hopeful and then it kind of degrades. It sobers and ends with loss. But there are so many things on this record that I’m still figuring it out.”
The albums starts with ‘Rebels And Saints’ and don’t get lulled into a false start becasue its a woven dash and the sunny Californian feel hits you. Melodic and fast. whilst ‘Daggers’ might be darker its almost punk metal in the riffs and pace it tells a story of personal turmoil within the backdrop of an increasingly dystopian America. Strung Out’s trademark melody and aggression is more metal than Bad Religion and its ebb and flow is maintained throughout the album. Its not really a scene that has taken off massivly in the UK and has a very American feel to it songs like ‘Dissapearing City’ cross over as does the pacey and layered harmonies of ‘Politics Of Sleep’.
Penultimate track ‘Strange Notes’ is bordering on Anthrax metal thrashing mad with a frantic drum roll on the intro like I say some might say it ebbs and flows through the gears throughout the album whilst the next man might say its that constant ebb and flow that pulverises that detracts from the songs as there doesn’t seem too much light and shade throughout the three quarters of an hours worth of music. They could totally land a slot at Download though which might well help US punk cross over to the UK.
The band head out in support of the album for the rest of the year throughout North America where I’m sure they’ll hoover up audiences with their energy alone. To be fair they’ve always had a tonne of energy but this is a little more metallic that say ‘Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues’ that was just the right side of this frantic paced style of music.
Buy Songs Of Armour And Devotion Here
Author: Dom Daley
Strung Out will be making the following appearances this fall. Dates below.
18 – Ybor, FL – Crowbar
19 – Gainesville, FL – The Wooly
20 – West Palm Beach, FL – Respectable Street
21 – Jacksonville, FL – 1904 Music Hall
22 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl
24 – Wilmington, NC – Reggie’s 42nd St.Tavern
25 – Virginia Beach, VA – The Bunker
26 – Baltimore, MD – Otto Bar
27 – Asbury Park, NJ – Asbury Lanes
28 – New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge
29 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
01 – Portland, ME – Port City Music Hall
02 – Montreal, QC – Club Soda
03 – Quebec City, QC – La Source
04 – Ottawa, ON – The 27 Club
05 – Toronto, ON – The Opera House
06 – London, ON – London Music Hall – Rum Runners
08 – Pittsburgh, PA – The Crafthouse Stage & Grill
09 – Detroit, MI – Small’s
10 – Chicago, IL – Cobra Lounge
11 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
12 – Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room
13 – Englewood, CO – Gothic Theatre
31 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
01 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
02 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
03 – Boise, ID – The Olympic
04 – Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall
08 – Dallas, TX – Three Links
09 – Corpus Christi, TX – House of Rock
10 – Austin, TX – Come and Take It Live
12 – Scottsdale, AZ – Pub Rock
13 – Las Vegas, NV – Dive Bar
14 – San Diego, CA – Irenic
15 – Santa Barbara, CA – Velvet Jones
16 – Sacramento, CA – Holy Diver
17 – San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
19 – Fresno, CA – Strummer’s
20 – Morro Bay – The Siren
21 – Lancaster, CA – American Legion
22 – Garden Grove, CA – Garden Amp
23 – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre