The Strypes first burst onto the scene in 2012 with their debut E.P ‘Young, Gifted & Blue’, a four-song offering, all covers. The band started clocking up the miles on the festival circuit, courting plenty of attention thanks to their tender years and exceptional playing ability. Acutely mod with their sharp suits and feather cuts they were at first seen as a bit of a novelty act, terms like ‘revivalist’ and ‘throwback’ seemingly constantly on the tip of wagging tongues.
‘Almost True’ is their fourth E.P since then, add to that three full length records and The Strypes have gradually but definitively dispelled any notion of them being a novelty act. Even though ‘Almost True’ houses a ‘roided-up version of Eddie Cochrane’s Summertime Blues the three original compositions on the record have only the slightest echoes of the influences they used to wear so conspicuously.
The playing chops they honed on the back of Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters remain but they’re now channelled into power pop with a more narrative style of song writing in the Ray Davies’ tradition. How Could I Forget?, a tale of youthful wanderlust, perfectly embodies the bands progression. More Setting Sons-era Jam than Sun-era Wolf, they’re ironing out the kinks without ironing out The Kinks.
Heavenly Soul is a far darker, heavier affair all squealing lead guitar and Keith Moon drum fills. At this stage in the game The Strypes are a band that can wear many musical hats with consummate ease. Freckle and Burn is another example of this with its almost prog-rock riff and stuttering, stabbing guitar. Each track on ‘Almost True’ is completely unique, a true sign of the band’s versatility.
The consistency and variety of The Strypes output since they burst on the scene is great sign for the band’s future and for the Irish music scene in general. In the past they’ve been simultaneously accused of being mature for their age and immature for the music they worshipped. Now there can be no mistake, this is a band – still young, although it’s no longer a defining feature – that have chiselled out their own identity.