Heralded as the new saviours of the Irish music scene, The Strypes have finally unleashed their long awaited debut album ‘Snapshot’ on the world. When we reviewed their ‘Hometown Girls EP’ a few months ago we were impressed at the offering but disappointed with the amount of cover versions. Has Snapshot made up for the disappointment and solidified The Strypes status as Ireland’s current big thing?
First track Mystery Man opens with some blistering blues guitar and takes the listener on an unrelenting ride straight into single Blue Collar Jane. Something that is evident right from the beginning of ‘Snapshot’ is that lead guitarist Josh McClorey is not only talented for his age, he is talented full stop. There are few guitarists out there at the moment with the same effortless command of the instrument.
The album continues along in a pleasant enough manner until track five, I Can Tell. If the title sounds familiar that is because it’s a Bo Diddley cover version. If this was the only cover on the album it could be easily overlooked, but when it the first of four on a twelve track album you need to wonder. While no one would bat an eyelid at a manufactured pop band releasing an album with a third of the album compromised of covers, when so much praise has been placed at the altar of The Strypes for their talent and song writing abilities it feels like we have been cheated. Perhaps it was the record company rushing out a release to make the most of the media storm and if so it is a shame the Cavan quartet were not allowed to develop at their own pace.
Tracks like Perfect Storm and the radio hit Hometown Girls give you a glimpse of just what the band are capable of. All fantastic musicians, their passion and intensity comes across as well as the fact that they’re just having fun. In years to come there is no doubt The Strypes will deliver a fantastic, must-have in your collection album but sadly ‘Snapshot’ isn’t it.
While it is a perfectly fine album, the main problem with ‘Snapshot’ is that The Strypes aren’t doing anything new, and certainly nothing that hasn’t already been done better. True, they probably would not have received the attention they have if it was not for their retro sound but you have to wonder where the line between inspiration and ripping off is. If ‘60s rhythm and blues are your thing then you much better off listening to music from the era itself, throw on some early Rolling Stones to get your fix. ‘Snapshot’ is enjoyable enough, but it is likely to be destined to be an album that is listened to a few times rather than something that music fans will be continually returning to after months or years.