Bulletproof, baby: The Struts take aim at the future of rock

Joshua Lloyd, Editor-in-Chief

“Don’t you know who I think I am?” frontman Luke Spiller wails on “Primadonna Like Me,” a frantic stadium dive-bomb that throws you headfirst into The Struts’ all-night party of a sophomore LP, “YOUNG & DANGEROUS.”

The Derbyshire glamrockers won the hearts (and Spotify searches) of American metalheads with their unabashedly-fun debut album “Everybody Wants” in 2016, highlighted by singles like “Could Have Been Me” and “Kiss This.” Now, their follow-up doubles down on everything that made “Everybody Wants” such a smash.

“YOUNG & DANGEROUS” has twice the energy and three times the glitter, chock-full of jazzy romps and surging synth-rock explosions. The band doesn’t just pay tribute to their blaringly-obvious Freddie Mercury and Mick Jagger vibes. Like their tourmates Greta van Fleet, The Struts feed on the power of history to bring us something epic, unrestrained and entirely their own.

They revel in the sleazeball spirit of album opener “Body Talks” and unleash a hard-rock blitzkrieg for restless hearts on “Fire (Part 1).” “Young and dangerous/Nothing can change us” Spiller shouts, while drummer Gethin Davies, bassist Jed Elliott and guitarist Adam Slack build to a bloody, tumultuous finale that will knock you silly.

“Bulletproof Baby” is a blast of Clash-era punk rock arrogance, all head-banging beats and middle-finger attitude. “Yeah, yeah, hey/We’re bulletproof, baby/Go ahead, take your shot.” It’s a message and a challenge to anyone who thinks the future of rock isn’t in good hands.

But if you think it’s all about youth, blood and sweat, get ready for a smack of sarcastic wisdom on “People,” a bittersweet back-alley anthem under the burning city lights. “The lovesick and lonely people/The lost and the holy people/You know we’re running getting nowhere, people.”

Spiller and company keep us guessing, taking a somber side trip into heartache with “Somebody New,” then swinging right into “Tatler Magazine,” a hilarious update of the fast-living, headline-making rockstar trope.

If “Body Talks” is a big entrance, then “Ashes (Part 2)” is a hell of an exit, a roller coaster-ride of rising and tumbling riffs that brings everything full circle, back down to earth. “Cause I can remember when we had the world in our hands” Spiller belts, digging into the days when being young and reckless was all that mattered.

As GQ writer Drew Magary gushes on a pre-album note, “The Struts are not here to pander. They are not here to give you lifeless gravy rock to fill in the space between ads on your local AOR radio station.” Thank God, because that’s how the genre slowly dies, and The Struts know it.

They make music that gets asses out of seats and whole arenas singing along, fist-pumping epics that light a spark of hope for a real rock and roll comeback, and this new LP explodes with that infectious disco-rock fire.

“YOUNG & DANGEROUS” shines brightest when  it nods to the past and points to the future. It draws on the arena-shaking hooks of Queen and the psychedelia of Pink Floyd and the Stones, but the thrilling next-gen spirit that carries the day is undeniably Struts. It’s proof that nobody does big, bombastic glam- rock better than them.

“You can pretend you don’t wanna know,” Spiller sneers on the chorus of “Body Talks.” Better jump right in; otherwise, The Struts will just bring the party to you.