Highlights: Me And You, Punk’s Pajamas, Hidden Meanings
If things like indie-rock and indie-folk seem barely enough, how about such novelties as indie-blues and indie-country (not to be confused with alt.country)? I do of course realise that those kinds of ‘genres’ might seem somewhat far-fetched, but this is my only chance of pigeonholing whatever it is that The Strange Boys are doing here.
My knowledge of the band is pretty scarce. The Strange Boys are a Texas-based garage rock band that specializes in a particularly slapdash, ramshackle take on the 60’s. And, as far as I can gather, Live Music is their most settled down, mellow affair so far. It’s still fairly all over the place, and you can feel that they don’t take themselves too seriously, but it’s precisely those things that make this music so charming. The melodies are lovely, whimsical and relatively easy on the ear, but it’s the vocals issue that has to be addressed here. The vocalist of The Strange Boys sounds like a particularly whiny, bleating version of Pete Doherty. Apparently there are lots of less promising descriptions, but you’d really have to be a fan of this kind of stuff to get through to track 14 in one listen with no headache, curse words or at least some distant feeling of annoyance. The piano-based, classic-sounding opener, “Me And You”, has the best tune, but I absolutely adore the brief and bluesy “Right Before”, the catchy and upbeat “Punk’s Pajamas”. Though admittedly some of their music comes off terribly muffled and inarticulate – particularly slower songs like “You And Me” and “Saddest”.
You can hear they are having fun, and as long as they are not too self-indulgent, why complain? Occasionally Live Music sounds half-baked. Occasionally it seems like the whole thing is on the verge of falling apart. But it never really does fall apart, and for all its hit-and-miss nature, you do feel intrigued and rewarded. Not the highest of sevens, but I can see no other rating here.