Before being issued with Everybody Wants to review I hadn’t heard of The Struts, so I turned to the modern font of all knowledge, Google, to get an idea of what to expect. I was promptly greeted by words like “glam-rock”, and photos of young men – one of whom looks like the lovechild of Mick Jagger and Noel Fielding – clad in stove-pipe denim, leather jackets, garish jewellery, and 70’s hair – literally wearing their influences on their sleeve I might say. Now, I’ve never been the biggest fan of glam-rock or skinny black jeans, and I am burdened with a healthy cynicism toward bands that rely heavily on a retro look or sound, so I thought I’d need to strap myself in and grit my teeth to get through the album.
On the more factual side of things, I learnt that Everybody Wants is a redux of the Derbyshire group’s 2014 debut album, remastered, rerecorded, and reissued with five additional tracks to accompany and reinforce the band’s burgeoning popularity, especially in the United States where The Struts relocated to in 2015. They have also developed a reputation for being strong live performers, which you’d say would be a requisite when opening for The Rolling Stones in front of 80,000 people, as they did in Paris in 2014, and opening track Roll Up quickly ratchets up the energy in such a way that it’s not a great imaginative leap to picture a crowd really getting into it. The listener is quickly bombarded by the anthemic Could’ve Been Me, a song with a chorus hook so big you could reel in Jaws with it, and no doubt the crowds are eagerly clapping and singing along to the clichéd message of living for the now and not having any regrets.
And so goes the rest of the annoyingly fun Everybody Wants: Adam Slack providing polished and catchy classic rock riffs; Jed Elliot artfully weaving his bass lines; Gethin Davies sounding like a tutorial on classic rock drumming – for my money the unimaginative drumming is the musical weak link here; and Luke Spiller delivering the standard lyrical fare with remarkable vocal versatility – seriously, his voice is pretty amazing. With the expected exceptions of the obligatory acoustic song, Mary Go Round, and the soft rock love song, A Call Away, Everybody Wants is a party album through and through, and will no doubt form the backing track to a lot of drunken sing-alongs.
With Everybody Wants The Struts are the musical equivalent of the ‘babe/beau’ you want to take home from the pub; you’re not in it for stimulating conversation tomorrow morning, just the fun of tonight. They’ve got talent, but they still need to grow into it if they want to avoid the walk of shame in the morning.