The Strypes - Snapshot
Being a prodigy can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand you have people shaking their heads that kids so young can produce music quite like this. Then you have the others who shake their heads and declare that kids this young have no right to be making music like this! Surely it must be some kind of savvy PR ploy, some Cowell-like Svengali pulling the strings and calling the shots?
Then you have people like me who don't give a shit how old they are; if the tune is good that's all that matters. And yes Virginia, the tunes are good. Maybe not great earth-shattering, genre-crushing original nuggets of pure gold, but, yeah, Snapshot is bonafide full-throttle fun. And yes, perhaps, all the more remarkable given that the age-range of Irish band The Strypes is from 15 to 17. Sickening, isn't it?
Legendary producer Chris Thomas (Sex Pistols, The Pretenders etc etc...) helps the colorful tunes jump out of the speakers without sacrificing any of the young band's endearing naivety and rawness. Aside from a few covers (the excellently executed Bo Diddley classics 'I Can Tell' and 'You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover' alongside a stomping rendition of 'Rollin' & Tumblin'), the others are all originals. The songs are soaked in vintage American and British blues: the Dr. Feelgood ferocity of 'Blue Collar Jane', the slow spooky crawl of the Yardbirds-esque 'Angel Eyes'. The boys wisely stay within their comfort zone so we are spared any twee ballads or tenuous forays into being deep and heartfelt. Nope, nothing more meaningful than 'trying to get that girl to like me', as in the wonderful 'Hometown Girls': "Can't you give me a fix so I'm brave and confident / Well I reek of sweat and teenage innocence." However, a bit of premature cynicism does creep in during 'What A Shame' and the clever 'What People Don't See', proving the guys may not be quite as green as all that: "You're today's sensation but tomorrow's looking bleak / Now you got to get them out to make through to next week."
All in all Snapshot is a fine introduction to a very young bunch of fellows who have plenty of time yet to grow and mature. For now just enjoy a debut bristling with potential. Cynicism is so 2012.