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Only Strangers - 'Only Strangers' Album Review


1. Last Time

2. So Long, Etruria

3. What Happened To You

4. Never Wanted This

5. Saturday Night

6. Counter Attack

7. Fare Thee Well

8. Anyway, We Delivered The Bomb

9. Creature

10. Hardest Thing

Only Strangers are about to release their first album in early February. This follows two EPs and an appearance on the Horn & Hoof label’s compilation ‘Punk As Duck, Vol. 1’. The latter was released in 2011 and the band first got together in 2010. This electrifying four piece is made up of Dec O'Reilly on Guitar and vocals, Adam Gater on Bass and vocals, Joe Hawthorne on Guitar and Paul Beard on Drums. This self-titled album is the band’s first release of new material since their noisy and exciting split EP with Scouse punk band Pardon Us in November 2015.

Album opener “Last Time” is a prime three minute slab of Punk fillet steak which draws you in and pummels you into a quick submission before the onslaught of hard, Melodic Punk sounds that follow. This is also the first single to be released from the LP. “So Long, Etruria” draws on the Manic Street Preachers and takes it up a mighty notch or three. I must confess that I had to Google Etruria. It used to be a region in Italy but now it is a suburb of Stoke-on-Trent, which is where Only Strangers were formed. Along with the aforementioned Manics and possibly the early sound of the Clash there is a dash of Blink 182 and their ilk on “What Happened To You” but that does not dilute the power of Only Strangers in the slightest.

The pace just never lets up, as “Never Wanted This” and “Saturday Night” sledgehammer their way into the deepest, darkest recesses of your brain. If this band doesn’t make you move then I can only assume that you are in need of defibrillation. If the Levellers went full-on, all-out Punk then they would probably sound like “Fare Thee Well” a song which will remain with you long after you listen to it. Scheduled to be the second single I can see this deservedly getting a lot of airplay.

Having listened to the album from start to finish I have to say that “Anyway, We Delivered The Bomb” is my favourite tune on this release, followed closely by “Creature”, although there is so much hard punchy Punk on this album that might well change after multiple listens.

All of the songs on this album have the depth, power and hooks to transfer and grow in a live setting. I am now desperate to see this band live soon.

Review - Bill Adamson

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