In the very early 1960s, young British musicians, many of them only in their mid-teens, started covering songs by black American artists. Unable to recreate the sound of the originals, they turned the material instead into a whole new musical genre. They themselves called it R&B while the press (and the Europeans) sometimes called it Beat Music. Really, it was modern folk music, created by the people for the people, largely non-commercial and always deeply heartfelt. There were hundreds of these groups, most of them now forgotten except by hardcore record collectors, although some of them managed to achieve a brief moment of fame on the back of the subsequent massive success of the Beatles from 1963 onwards.
Since then, every time the collective, artistically destructive, controlling efforts of the "music business", including the music press, have almost managed to wipe out the last ounce of soulfulness in popular music, bands like the these tend to emerge from basements and garages and bring this form of music back to it's roots again. It happened in the 70s with the pub rock scene, followed by punk and the Mod Revival. It happened in the mid 90s with Brit Pop. Now, thank God, it seems to be happening again, spearheaded by four extremely cool, intelligent, knowledgeable and incredibly musically skilful teenagers, this time not from Canvey Island, but from Cavan in Ireland.
I'm old enough to have experienced all these mutations of this type of music, and every time it has been extremely exciting periods to live though, musically. I don't care if the Strypes bring something new to the genre or not, because when this vinyl album (infinitely better sounding than the Special Edition CD, which I also bought for the bonus tracks) is on my turntable, my heart is simply thumping too fast for me to bother contemplating any theoretical issues, and at the end of the day that is the yardstick good music should be judged by.
I just love these guys, their exciting and highly skilled playing, their impeccable dress code, the way they scorn the stupid and self-destructive attitudes most rock stars have adopted over the decades, and which others with no lives themselves have latched on to like leaches. They do what they want to do, and they do it extremely well, whether they play on stage, perform acoustic sets for radio, participate in interviews etc. I love their well-crafted, self-penned songs with all their lyrical tongue-in-cheekness, humour, great little puns. Not exactly poetry in the style of W.B. Yeats, but words that SOUND good, as a song lyric should. A large part of the press doesn't like these guys, and no wonder, because these four fellars refuse to be roped in and exploited, and despite their friendly front they are in truth a guided missile up the backside of the commercial industry network of which pop music has been a victim now for far too long.