There’s an explosive energy in any arena The Struts perform in from Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom to the main stage at Lollapalooza to opening for The Rolling Stones. This can be credited to the electric stage presence that the band itself owns but it should be noted that the international fans reciprocate that same passion in an even more exaggerated way. Since releasing their debut album Everybody Wants in the United States in 2016, The Struts were immediately celebrated for their retro rock vibes and anthemic hits like “Could Have Been Me” and “Kiss This.” With three additional EPs released, the band has toured the world for the past few years, solidifying themselves as unwavering live performers. The question remained: Would a sophomore album meet the expectations of the band’s glam-rocker fans?
“It’s a little bit different, but only where it needs to be. It’s everything you’d expect from The Struts and then a little bit more; a little bit spicier,” frontman Luke Spiller says of the band’s highly anticipated new album, Young & Dangerous. Bassist Jed Elliott adds that the band’s experiences from being on tour for so many years are really what have been bottled and put into the album. “The energy you’re going to feel is basically us exploring new places, new countries and spending life on the road,” he says.
With the live show being at the forefront of the band’s identity, The Struts can understand if someone simply listens to their music and is slightly confused. “Once you see it all, the fashion and the visuals and hear the music, everything makes sense,” Spiller explains. The truest testament to their artistry on stage is that they have been touring just one studio album for so long, and making it work. Despite this, Spiller admits that the first show on their most recent tour, Body Talks, actually was a disaster. “We overthought everything. It was a disaster. Afterwards we were like, where was the fun in that?,” he says. Since then, the band has found the balance between incorporating new songs off of Young & Dangerous and returning to their roots as well.
One of the new album’s first singles was “Body Talks,” a glittery rock banger that you can’t help but dance to. A second version of the song was released shortly after with featured vocals from Kesha, who Spiller says reinvented the song. “She’s a really great woman and it was fantastic having her on the song. Especially given what she’s gone through, and continues to go through,” Spiller says of working with Kesha. “She’s at this place where she’s reassessing what she wants to do musically, and I think it’s great to be a part of this journey she is going through.” The frontman adds that he was recently singing on a song for Kesha’s upcoming album and he felt a lot more soul, blues and rock vibes, which is why she was such a good fit for The Struts. “[She] wasn’t a rock artist, and that’s where I think it’s clever. I think if you’re going to bring someone else is, it should be unexpected and get people talking,” he says collaborating with other artists.
With 12 new songs (13, including “Body Talks” featuring Kesha) to add to the band’s live set, the foursome seem genuinely excited to tour new material and show their fans what they’ve been working on. “There is something on the album for everyone. There are really fun songs, escapism songs, and there are sad songs, too,” Elliott says of Young & Dangerous. Guitarist Adam Slack points out that there was a lot of experimentation that went into the album. “Sometimes we went down avenues that we wouldn’t traditionally have gone down, but turned out to be cool. We wrote 50 songs and these are the best ones,” he decides.
Since embarking on their Body Talks tour in September, Spiller says the band has played some of their most special shows, thanks to the fan’s reactions to the new songs, among other things. “Hearing the audience sing back so loud, it breathes confidence in us. If we play our cards right, I think this will be the last time we play these 1,000-capped venues,” Spiller suggests. “We went to grow and evolve.”
Elliott chimes in, remembering a fan telling him that the band’s live set was built for an arena setting, and she couldn’t wait for the band to reach that level. “The fans share the same ambition we do,” he says.
Complete with bright anthems, sparkling fashion and attitude to boot, The Struts will be on tour until November 9. Young & Dangerous is available October 26.
Main photo by: Anna Lee