The Strays – Le Futur Noir
Label: TVT Records
Release Date: September 26, 2006
Welcome to the 21st century. It is a time of great change and progress for much of mankind. The Strays would probably put themselves at the bottom of the list for this millennia’s poster boys. But, really, they are a great example. The four members are from three different countries (England, Greece, United States). The mixing and matching of post-punk, American rock and rebellious punk anthems respects the past and still forges fresh ground. Like many of their forward-thinking peers (not me), the band is not content with the world around them. Simply put, we can’t be the future without fixing the present. Sure, after my nap.
Put a naked girl wearing a gas mask on your album cover and you’re automatically a pessimist. The Strays, rather, are realists. As “Geneva Code” intelligently discusses the failure of our peaceful “safeguards” with raunchy vocals and oh-so-fleeting synth lines, the listener is left with a confused feeling. Am I supposed to dance or solicit signatures for petitions? “You Are The Evolution” takes the best parts of punk, reggae and piano-rock and melds them into quite the sing-along. “It looks like rock ‘n roll is gonna save me,” is the ironic resignation repeated over and over. I guess it’s better than nothing.
Le Futur Noir is polished in such a way that it’s rugged roots shine through. “Peach Acid”, the album's break-up song, is a direct nod to earlier punk acts a la The Clash. An off-pitch chorus and annoying “lalalas” easily overshadow the jagged, screechy guitar solos on “Sirens”. These little things could be left out without sacrificing the retro sound. However, the dance-punk-ish feel of “Block Alarm” just about makes up for all mistakes on Le Futur Noir. This song begs to be played in an arena somewhere. Or, at the very least, through some very (very) loud speakers.
A theme of this new age is the notion that we don’t have to create new ideas, but just refine the old ones. Le Futur Noir is that new computer with more RAM and a HD screen. The Strays are a sign of the time. Phrases don’t get more cliché than that. I must mean it.
Recommended If You Like: The Clash, The Killers, fashionable military boots, sit-ins, Oasis