By Jack Dickinson
Since Ian Whitcomb & Bluesville charted at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “You Turn Me On” in 1965, Irish Rock groups have been creeping into the playlists of American Disc Jockeys and gracing the record collections of many music fans. Taste,Thin Lizzy, The Undertones, U2, Sinead O’Connor and The Cranberries are just afew names that come to mind when discussing the Emerald Isle’s contributions to Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Add to that list, The Strypes. The vintage inspired quartet originates from the town of Cavan, Ireland and consists of Ross Farrelly, 16, on Vocals/Harmonica, Josh McClorey, 18, on Lead Guitar, Pete O’Hanlon, 18, on Bass and Evan Walsh, 18, on drums.
Though the lads aren’t even old enough to buy a beer, that hasn’t stopped them from topping the British and Irish charts with their debut album, Snapshot, touring with the Arctic Monkeys and earning the high praise of David Letterman when they played their single, “What A Shame,” on the CBS Late Show in March. Some of their biggest fans include Roger Daltry, Noel Gallagher, Jeff Beck, Elton John and Paul Weller.
After a summer of touring Europe, Australia and Japan, The Strypes are back with a new E.P. called “4-Track Mind”, likely a teaser to their upcoming second album.
Upon listening to it, it’s noticeable that the group has taken a slight departure from the more blues influenced sound of their previous work. This E.P. has a more hard rocking sound similar to the great British Pub Rock bands of the 1970s.
However, you can still hear a touch of Chess Record stars such as Bo Diddley & Muddy Waters in the freight train-like rhythm of the track, “Still Gonna Drive You Home”, produced by Paul Weller. They then go from a down home Blues groove to a heavier punk vibe with “Hard To Say No,” easily to be their next hit single after “Blue Collar Jane” from Snapshot.
The influence of old school Punk Rock continues to be featured throughout the record, particularly in their cover of the Ramones Classic, “Rockaway Beach”. It’s hard not see the influence of the Ramones on the group. Ross Farrelly seems to have adopted the look of Joey Ramone by perpetually having his eyes shielded in sunglasses anywhere he goes, whether he’s on or off stage.
Last but not least, there’s “So They Say”. Built around an R&B riff, this is definitely a bit of a suggestive track containing lyrics that allude to Heroin use…
“Inject a little venom into heaven
And you’ll find a load of angels filling up to get down
That’s what it’s like every Saturday night in my town!”
-“So They Say” The Strypes
After listening to this E.P., one will be left awe struck, waiting in anticipation for another album or tickets to a Strypes gig in their town. For those of you who think Rock is Dead, fear not. These lads from Cavan have got it covered. As Pete Townshend once wrote, “Long Live Rock”.