The Dictionary Of The Scots Language tells us that “strunt” is a fit of pique or pettishness, or as we might say in the Home Counties, a bit miffed. The Strunts tell us this on their album, too, but I never take anything on trust these days particularly when, in English, the word can also mean spirituous liquor. Whatever, The Strunts are a bit miffed about a lot of things on their debut album, Too Much Of Everything.
David Fee and Les Osman describe their style as “post-truth, new wave folk” so it’s not difficult to see where their strunts come from. The opener, ‘Blood And Bandages’ is a caustic commentary on the state of health care both here and in the USA – the title of the song refers to the symbol of the barber-surgeon. So now you’re thinking you’re in for a good rant but things are not so simple. ‘Everything On Gold’ is about the money men but it’s not an all-out attack. Instead the singer, a poor man, says that we’re all the same underneath it all, with our own hopes and dreams and he wouldn’t actually swap places.
Supporting David and Les are drummer Mark Leishman, multi-instrumentalists Alex Johnson and Sam Hales who also engineered the project and vocalists Anne Leith (who, with Les, made the wonderful EP Poets) and Alison Leith who sings lead brilliantly on the third track, ‘Alien In Slovenia’. From this point, some lyrics become rather more intricate. ‘End In Tears’ and ‘Like Minds’ just leave you with a feeling of despair but ‘Weaver’s Bay’, with its lovely bouzouki intro, takes us back to the familiar ground of the Highland Clearances. ‘Ranches And Mansions’ picks up the same theme of dislocation, this time transferred to Mexico but the line “before us faces made of rock” suggests the displacement of Native Americans from Dakota. It’s very cleverly done. ‘Too Much Of Everything’ is another puzzle – can you get back to me? – and finally ‘The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth’ is a fine anti-Trump conspiracy theory laced with dark humour.
Too Much Of Everything is musically varied and entertaining, lyrically thought-provoking and entertaining and I’ve learned a new word. A good job all round.
Artists’ website: www.thestrunts.bandcamp.com
‘Blood And Bandages’: