Arts, Music

The Struts Prove That Pure Rock Is Not Dead on New Album


In a time when pure rock and roll is starting to fade from popularity, The Struts’ fourth studio album Pretty Vicious, released on Friday, proves that rock is not dead.

The Struts, a British band formed in 2012, rose to fame with their first album Everybody Wants, which features their hit song “Could Have Been Me.” 

The Struts strive for a rock persona, drawing inspiration from artists like Queen and The Rolling Stones. Opening for bands like The Who and Guns N’ Roses and even co-headlining with the Foo Fighters, The Struts are truly leaders of the next rock generation.

And with their new album Pretty Vicious, it is clear that their prominence in rock is deserved. This album is perfectly rock, with its consistent use of strong drum lines, guitar riffs, and a thumping rhythm. Its songs cover the spectrum of bold and loud to quiet and thoughtful, demonstrating the band’s range within the rock genre.

The album starts off with the song “Too Good at Raising Hell,” which was released as a single on June 30. Unapologetically catchy, this song is without a doubt one of the best displays of The Struts’ skill, playing on pop music’s foot-tapping rhythms while also delving into rock in its best sense. The electric guitar melody remains stagnant throughout the track, allowing the lyricism to shine as lead singer Luke Spiller draws the listener in with his vocals.

“Think I’m getting too good, too good at raising hell / But I’m wearing it well / I’m getting too good, too good at raising hell / Oh I’m ringing the bell,” Spiller sings. 

This chorus, backed by the well-known clanging of cymbals often seen in rock songs, is one that can get stuck in the listeners’ heads for hours. With quickly spoken, rhyming verses to separate the choruses, this song is organized in a way that all the focus goes to the song’s message of the tiring nature of partying. 

Since The Struts are the modern embodiment of rock and roll, it is only natural that they would sing about the idea of enjoying life too much. With “Too Good at Raising Hell,” however, the band aims to show the benefits of slowing down. On this track, partying becomes excessive—even for a rock star.

“I run a hotel without any beds / Run a catwalk without any threads / Driving myself right into the storm / Burning my cash to keep myself warm,” Spiller sings after the chorus.

When paired with a bridge of simple yet gripping vocals, “Too Good at Raising Hell” sets up this album to be the epitome of what rock should be: carefree, extravagant, and entertaining.

Following “Too Good at Raising Hell” is the title track of the album. While “Pretty Vicious” does not lean into the realm of pop music like “Too Good at Raising Hell” does in its danceable beat, it nonetheless holds the same intrigue with its moodier tone set by a slower tempo and mellower instrumentals.

The lyrics once again are the star of this song—the only showy aspect comes from Spiller’s powerful voice. This song swings to the other side of rock, focusing less on being loud and boisterous and more on being sentimental and reserved.

“You can be pretty vicious / I guess nobody gets you like I do / I know you too well, but I’m under your spell / ’Cause you’re pretty, pretty, pretty,” Spiller sings.

These two rock sounds—the classic, bold, and loud version and that of the more gentler version of rock that often relates to love—are carried through the rest of the album. Songs like “Hands on Me” and “Somebody Someday” are defined by their more tender tone and are slower and more stripped down compared to “Rockstar” and “Do What You Want” that are the embodiment of pure rock and roll with their shouted lyrics and flashy instrumentals.

The album can ultimately be represented by “Gimme Some Blood,” a song with a style that is simply rock. Starting off slower, the song suddenly opens up as the chorus comes in, the instrumentals swelling and shifting the song from simple and reserved to grandeur and bold. This song includes both the gentler side of rock in its beginning before becoming louder, the chorus exploding similarly to other rock songs like “Don’t Look Back in Anger” by Oasis and “Everlong” by Foo Fighters.

As a whole, The Struts have managed to make Pretty Vicious a perfect rock and roll collection. If there is any band that is worthy of leading rock into the modern age, it would be The Struts.

November 5, 2023