The Struts, Pretty Vicious Review
Electrifying Studio Dynamism: The Struts’ Pretty Vicious
by Rudy Palma
In their latest release, Pretty Vicious, The Struts have managed to distill the essence of their electrifying live performances into a studio album that’s as dynamic as it is diverse. The band’s collaboration with Julian Raymond and the executive oversight of Scott Borchetta have borne fruit in an 11-track journey that captures their live act’s spirit and elevates it.
The Struts are frontman and mysteriously flamboyant lead vocalist Luke Spiller. Adam Slack handles all the tasty guitar work, Jamie Binns’ bass holds down the harmony, and Rafe Thomas provides the thunderous rock drive. Together, they form The Struts, a tour-de-force of musical prowess and show-stopping theatrics. The band has cited its influences as Queen, The Darkness, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, The Killers, The Smiths, Oasis, the Libertines, Michael Jackson, The Strokes, The Vaccines, and My Chemical Romance.
With his flamboyant and enigmatic presence, Frontman Spiller is the nucleus around which the album revolves. The opening track, “Too Good at Raising Hell,” is a testament to this, showcasing Spiller’s warm, commanding vocals, which are rightly placed at the forefront. The mix is a refreshing divergence from the trend where many rock vocalists are lost in the instrumentation. This clarity in Spiller’s vocal delivery sets the tone for an album that prioritizes vocal prowess without sacrificing instrumental integrity.
The title track, “Pretty Vicious,” epitomizes the band’s ability to seamlessly shift styles, blending ’80s pop-rock with a contemporary polish. Spiller’s attitude-filled vocals, marked by clear and precise diction, navigate this stylistic terrain with ease. It’s a showcase of The Struts’ versatility, a skill that is unjustly critiqued by some but is, in reality, one of their strengths.
Tracks like “I Won’t Run” and “Hands On Me” are where the band delves into a sleek, radio-friendly pop-rock mixed with New Wave. These songs are anthemic, designed to stir the listener into a euphoric state, with Spiller’s smooth timbre leading the charge. His ability to adapt his vocal style to each song’s demands without losing his distinctive rock-n-roll edge is remarkable.
“Do What You Want” brings a taste of British rock to the album. Here, Spiller’s commanding presence is front and center, delivering melodies with an evocative energy that’s hard to ignore. The synergy between Binns’ bass, Thomas’ thunderous drumming, and Slack’s tasteful guitar work creates a solid backbone for the track, complementing Spiller’s vocal range, which he pushes to new heights.
“Rockstar” stands out as a stellar rock track with punk elements. Spiller’s tone, which subtly nods to Queen, amalgamates with an unforgettable melody and the band’s robust backing vocals, highlighting each member’s instrumental prowess.
Pretty Vicious is an outstanding rock album; it’s a showcase of The Struts’ ability to create a variety of sound that is diverse and cohesive. The production quality is immaculate, allowing each song to stand out as an auditory spectacle. This, combined with Spiller’s exceptional vocal talent, makes the album a necessary addition to any audiophile’s collection. The Struts have not just created an album; they have crafted an experience that resonates with the soul of rock music.