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Artista: The Strypes
Etiqueta: Virgin EMI


The Strypes started out as Dr. Feelgood wannabes back in 2013. Four years later on Spitting Image, the quartet has ditched the gritty blues-rock and slapped on skinny ties -- a transition that makes sense, since it took the U.K. four years to move from pub rock to new wave. The Strypes make no bones about their change in attitude, giving the cover to Spitting Image hip, bright colors vaguely reminiscent of Barney Bubbles' artwork for Stiff Records, copping the "Another Girl Another Planet" riff for "Turnin' My Back," and tipping their hat to the Buzzcocks by writing a song called "A Different Kind of Tension." Such explicit allusions are part of the fun of Spitting Image, which is easily the best new wave album of the new millennium. Part of the fun of Spitting Image is that the Strypes play with the enthusiasm of the newly converted; these might be old sounds, but the way they bash out the hooks, it's as if they've discovered them for the first time. The Strypes studiously avoid anything that's a bit too punky -- they're much more likely to settle into a bit of a funky groove reminiscent of Graham Parker & the Rumour or Elvis Costello when he was backed by Clover -- and that's their appeal: intentionally or not, they're celebrating the new wave pop sounds that have fallen out favor in the retro mania era. That's why Spitting Image works so well. It may be a throwback, but it's done for the love of the music, not the desire to be hip. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine