The Strypes

Jun 09, 2016

I’ve seen the future, and…  It includes the Strypes in a big way.  In musical world that has heard and seen it all, with thousands of bands working the “me too” 10,000 hours-invested formula for nothing more than success for its own sake, up comes the Strypes, with an authenticity that immediately scatters the wannabees. 

Still in their mid-teens and attending school when the band formed in 2011 in Cavan, Ireland, their mutual love of blues music gave their youthful “speed blues” style very deep roots indeed.  

It’s obvious they’ve listened to Muddy Waters, the early Stones and Yardbirds, Dr Feelgood, John Mayall to Willie Dixon.  The band’s first single was a punkish version of Bo Diddley’s “Can’t Judge a Book By The Cover” in 2012. 

Like their influences, the Strypes don’t just ape blues records, but write to-the-point songs, getting in your face with who they are now; youthful droogs high on this rootsy music thing at a hundred miles per hour. 

Vocalist/ harmonica player Ross Farrelly, born in 1997, Josh McClorey on guitar, born 1995, Pete O’Hanlon on bass, and drummer Evan Walsh, both born in ’96 comprise the stripped-down lineup of trio-plus-singer that Johnny Kidd & The Pirates and the Who utilized to forcibly deliver raw, uncluttered guitar blues-rock. 

These guys look like their Brit blues mentors, those moody photos of the young Stones or Animals, in drab sports jackets and stovepipe trousers, unblinking attitude, mods on a mission.  No wonder Jeff Beck and Elton John, among others have cited them as their favourite band. 

The Strypes’ third single “What a Shame” saw them hit their stride as songwriters; performing the song on the David Letterman TV show caused the gob-smacked Letterman to applaud them with, “What else do you need to know!” 

That elusive combination of reverence to the art form with rugged in-the-now assertion can be heard in Strypes’ stage show covers of such war-horses as “Route 66”, where the authentic guitar licks evoke the enthusiasm of the late-teen Keith Richards, while the open hi-hat breathing at the end of a phrase shows the slight swing that Walsh has learned from Charlie Watts. 

These kids play deep.  It ain’t about flashy chops, shredding, or stage costumes.  Like the Beatles and the Who, they have that strange invisible link that suggests they somehow belong uniquely together. In today’s world of multi-media, where music itself has been subsumed as it competes with visual eye-candy, it is pure music that is the bonding mission of the Strypes.  They’re a gang, a tribe – that unifying force music was supposed to have on each generation.

If they can survive the next decade as a unit, it shall become apparent to the entire planet that the Strypes are an important band.  Long live the Strypes.  What else to you need to know?