Photograph: Jill Furmanovsky
Time Out says
Posted: Mon Mar 10 2014
If the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, does that make the Strypes the Second Coming? The comparison has certainly been made, though the Irish four-piece is more closely tied to 1960s-British rhythm & blues, à la the Yardbirds and the Rolling Stones. So closely tied, in fact, that it’s a bit disorienting, as if you’ve just encountered a fold in the space-time continuum—or, as Sir Elton John puts it, “You want to pinch yourself looking at these kids playing this music. It’s kind of otherworldly.”
Kids indeed, since all four members are in their teens—perpetually sunglassed singer Ross Farrelly the youngest at just 16. Their music, their wardrobe, even their haircuts are derivative, there’s no denying it. And yet the Strypes have proved to be strangely compelling: In 2012 they self-released their first EP, a collection of covers titled Young Gifted & Blue, which reached No. 1 on the iTunes blues chart the very next day. Shortly thereafter, Elton sought out the group at a 100-capacity pub in Brighton, and immediately signed it to his management company. A deal with Mercury Records soon followed.
Of course, there is the requisite chatter about the lasting merit of a band that has clearly taken to heart the sentiment that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, while at times displaying a youthful naïveté regarding the subtler nuances of the music they revere. But the fact remains that the Strypes put on a rousing show, birthed from a genuine appreciation of rollicking, pub-ready rock & roll. You have to wonder where a little time and musical exploration might take these talented lads.—Kristen Zwicker
Follow Kristen Zwicker on Twitter: @djdopeshoes