The Strange Boys Transition From Scuzzy To Smooth

By Kim Bellware in Arts & Entertainment on May 8, 2012 10:00PM

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The Strange Boys are having a bit of a Danny Zuko moment. On their grimy blues and psych-filled debut, the Texas rockers owned their ragged edges and defiant spirit captured in The Strange Boys And Girls Club; drag racing, light-a-smoke-with-a-Zippo, leather jacket wearing T-Birds, if you will.

When the band mellowed out ever so slightly on their follow-up, Be Brave, only some of the guts remained. And by the time the band arrived with 2011's Live Music, the Strange Boys had essentially lettered in track—and had the varsity sweater to prove it.

When a once-rowdy band shows up suspiciously scrubbed and smoothed, the first question has to be "what gives?" followed immediately by "what now?" The Strange Boys have been an intriguing act for as long as they've been playing. (Which is, admittedly, not terribly long given their debut was 2009.) Still, their unabashed love for '60s-era American garage, surf and British Invasion music was easy to enjoy because of its honest energy and lack of posturing; the band never made self-conscious efforts to conceal their influences or vainly try to re-invent the garage rock wheel for the sake of novelty.

Whether this new chapter of the Strange Boys' sound is the band embracing a bone-dry interpretation of "maturity" or simply the lull before a (hopefully) voracious return to big, bad, blistering rock, we're not ready to look away just yet. Even on Live Music, where hokey piano layers mush atop an otherwise snappy repertoire of guitar, drums and bass, bursts of energy hint The Strange Boys might still have a few punches up their sleeve.

With any luck, raucous tour mates Ty Segall and White Fence will remind The Strange Boys just how much fun noise, clash and crash rock can be.

The Strange Boys play Lincoln Hall with Ty Segull, White Fence and Bitchin' Bajas on Thursday, May 10 at 8 p.m., Sold Out