According to the press release, ‘this summer has already resounded to three of the
cuts from the EP – part-mastered by Bill Skibbe of Jack White’s Third Man Mastering in Detroit – garnering the band enthused reviews across numerous premier music magazines, as well as extensive radio play ranging from BBC Introducing to Radio Caroline’.
How has this bypassed me? Where have I been? Deep in a bunker, immersed in home-schooling and writing about an endless ream of obscure underground bands who I’d have probably caught on the pub / small / even smaller venue circuits who instead of touring have released home-recorded works that they’re struggling to get coverage for, because without merch sales they can’t afford to pay a PR firm. Also, simply drowning in stuff, and life in general. But plying catchup is a welcome and uplifting experience where Blue Stragglers are concerned.
Built around a guitar that’s gritty and choppy and a solid, insistent rhythm section, and defined by Lee Martin’s voice which has just the right amount of throat to stand out and give the songs proper bite, ‘All Mine (Sometimes)’ sits somewhere between The Cooper Temple Clause and The Psychedelic Furs, while ‘Late at a Festival’ veers wildly between jangly psych-hued indie and roaring Nirvana-influenced grunge guitar blasting.
‘Forever and a Day’ goes all out for the big chorus, and yes, I’ll say it, it’s anthemic and there’s no question that it’s a song that would absolutely explode in a live setting. At least the production is full-blooded and immediate and so captures that in-the-moment intensity, and this really comes to the fore on the final track, ‘Last Call’, which is one of those tracks that starts quiet and low-key and takes its time building to a full-throttle riff riot that calls to mind Queens of the Stone age.
There’s a lot to like about this, and not least of all the energy.