What Went Down
Every now and then, a band come along who fit their name so well that you want to laugh out loud.
Behold the Struts! This rambunctious, tongue-in-cheek and yet seriously driven Derby four-piece were given their moniker by their manager, inspired by the ferocious swagger of singer Luke Spiller, a man given to declaring, ‘I was born to do this. And I’ll die doing it.’
The manager earned his 10% right there.
The Struts are a blast. They play loud, cocky, attitudinal rock-and-roll big on simultaneously self-mythologising and taking the piss. They are charismatic, larger-than-life and unashamedly inspired by wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am glam rock: the über-raunchy Put Your Money On Me (‘I know I got a bad reputation!’) could be lifted from a Faces album circa 1973.
Spiller is a melodramatic Freddie Mercury of a vocalist, all throaty vibrato, lecherous growls and sidelong winks. Like Mercury, his weapons are irony and lavishly vulgar innuendo: the lairy My Machine (‘I’m gonna slip inside, can you hear her scream?’) is as gloriously lewd and preposterous as Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls.
It all works because the Struts have fantastically characterful, anthemic tunes aplenty. The raunch-and-roll of Kiss This could be the Rolling Stones, whom they have already supported; She Makes Me Feel is a leather-clad Kinks, complete with judicious whistling; ‘Dirty Sexy Money’ rhymes its title with ‘high street honey’ with such nonchalant élan that you feel like applauding.
It’s hard to know how Spiller keeps a straight face through some of this stuff (‘My boss is always nagging/My arse is dragging’) but the up-for-it, mad-for-it Struts must be a riot live. I bet stage costumes are involved.