Raw and hypnotic grooves with a visceral energy from Brighton trio.
Ok, it’s a Friday night. You’ve had a hard day at work. You just want to go home and listen to podcasts, eat a pizza and forget you ever had a job in the first place. But you promised a mate you’d go to a gig. You don’t want to go, but feel like a crap friend, so you drag yourself out. The pub is busy, the bar is small and slow. You meet your friend, you feel a bit better, but tell yourself you’ll leave after the first band. Then Strange Cages come on. After thirty seconds of their set, you forget your woes, get a round in, even though you haven’t finished your current drink and start planning out the rest of your night.
Brighton’s Strange Cages new EP, Silver Queen, is the culmination of a few years hard graft. They’ve played anywhere and everything while honing the craft of writing songs that move you, physically and emotionally. I once heard someone exclaim at one of their gigs “It's like Queens of the Stone Age meet the Monkees”. This might be a little too far, but there is an element of truth to it. Take the recent video for ‘False Prophet Death Waltz’. The band are wearing silver capes and giving a tongue in cheek performance, amping rock’s love of pageantry while mocking it. But they’re mocking it with respect. Their new EP Silver Queen is full of this pomp, and its all the better for it.
‘False Prophet Death Waltz’ gets things going with huge riffs, glorious vocals and a general disregard for dB levels. It’s a 3:45 blast of psych-infused heavy rock, with rock clichés, turned up to 11. It not only lives up to their hype but surpasses it! This tells us that Strange Cages like riffs. They like nugget garage rock and more importantly, they know how to write a something visceral and fun.
‘Lasers of Joy’ feels like the song is made up of one continuous riff, that undulates, mutates and ties itself in knots throughout its duration until it collapses on the floor exhausted. Things get a bit wistful, and slow down a bit on ‘Silver’. This gentle psych ballad shows the other side to the band. It seems to say “We can rock, but we can also make you cry” and given the right mood, they probably can. Saving the best for last the EP closes ‘Children of the Gutter’. To call it the standout track feels like a disservice to the other tracks, but it’s also true. Sounding like The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, in a melodic mood. ‘Children of the Gutter’ features some jaunty and eerie guitars with a huge stalking bassline.
Silver Queen is the sound of three friends not caring what anybody thinks they should be doing, but instead creating the music they love and having a blast doing it. Over its six songs, they create hypnotic grooves with a visceral energy. Their astute lyrics can either be taken at face value, but they hint at a deeper meaning if you care to examine them as such, and huge searing riffs, but all with a sense of fun that is hard to ignore.
Photo: Courtesy of band.