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The Strange Things Boutique





Fake Club - FuckableWell, that explains the band name then. Aren't anagrams great? And as an opening statement, calling your debut album Fuckable is a pretty good opening salvo, given that it automatically puts the wind up more delicate media outlets and suitably ambiguous in intent.

The Strange Things team were impressed by Fake Club when we caught them live in December, and I've been admiring their singles for the last few months, so there was a fair amount of anticipation for this album, and it doesn't disappoint. Sitting somewhere between metal and punk – the riffs of the former, the attitude of the latter – the album suggests that this lot could become one of most vital, entertaining bands as long as they can resist being polished and preened by record label suits. As it is right now, they are pleasingly DIY in attitude – this is pretty much self-recorded, self-released and makes no concession to commerciality, either in terms of pop or rock. It sometimes has an oddly old-school feel, like the great, heavy but commercial rock of the 1970s without sounding like a pastiche or an imitation, and that's pretty impressive. With impressive performances from the band and lead singer Rosie's throaty, sometimes sneering, sometimes sexy and always very Lahnden-accented vocals, this has the feel of something that you'd expect from a band with rather more years under their belt.

Opener Do What You Gotta Do is a fantastic start to the album, heavy on the riffing and rocking out but never losing sight of the need for hooks. There's a Led Zep swagger and a swing to this that is unusual these days, displaying a certain 'classic rock' influence perhaps. Feel Me is a track that virtually assures you'll be nodding your head furiously, while Summer City is another track that has a fine groove running through it, sexy and rebellious. This is the sort of thing that is perfect for hot sweaty clubs, but you could also see this killing it in stadiums.

Bullet Brain is a faster, garage punkier effort, but still reflecting a pop sensibility in the infectious chorus. With a fantastic fuzztone guitar solo, this is pretty sensational. Generation opens up like a reworked Iko Iko before exploding into a teenage rebel anthem that's up there with the best of them. Over + Over is another slamming fast rock number about 'giving up growing old' (words to live by!).

There's more of a punk sensibility to Beauty Queen, a belting attack on the trivial fuckwitted D-list celebrities that dominate our media – they should use this as the theme tune for Big Brother! Do It Like Me is a catchy pop rocker that would be a shoe-in for saturation radio play in any decent world, while Fine is a riff-laden, sex heavy number.

Album closer Midnight at KOKO shows that the band are capable of less guitar heavy, more polished tunes is they choose to be. In some ways, it seems out of place – which it might have been if positioned anywhere else on the album. But it's actually a great song, regretfully decadent and hauntingly gorgeous as it perfectly captures the essence of the desperation and delirium of a wild, drunken, hedonistic club night.

As debut albums go, this is pretty fantastic. There isn't a weak track here, plenty that is excellent and a handful of numbers that you will have lodged in your head for weeks afterwards. This isn't a band self-consciously trying to reinvent music, but instead take it back to what music should be – no bullshit, no fretting about demographics or airplay, just getting on with it for the sake of it. It's rock and roll, and that's all it needs to be.



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