Strung Out‘s 8th album “Transmission.Alpha.Delta” is finally ready to drop and it sounds every bit as good as you remember them and even sees the band adding a modern touch to an ageing era’s take on the melodic punk rock we’ve come to know and love.
The record has been long delayed and highly anticipated since Strung Out announced the pending release waaaaay back in 2012. The band has covered a lot of ground across its many releases ranging from fast skate punk, melodic pop punk and even incorporating metal and hardcore styles amongst it all. The thing is, you never really know which side of the band you’ll see with each new release. Luckily “Transmission.Alpha.Delta.” rewards listeners with a familiar-yet-new experience of fast, melodic and powerful music and it sounds great!
The opening track “Rats In the Walls” is a strong opener with familiar leads and riffs over the melodic skate punk rock that has made them a legacy band. The drums are bright and crisp and the guitars are typically up front and super tight. The syncopated palm muting, solo’s and lead breaks just shred and the bass keeps the low end in tow. It’s a great set up for what is to follow.
Vocally Joson Cruz is sounding as confident as ever, favoring less of the coarse styles of earlier works and leaning toward melody and movement instead. There’s some terrific backing vocals and “Black Maps” contains some great guitar work with cool harmonies and a very tidy solo in the middle reminding us that this band is never content to settle on just four chords and a punk beat. The years of playing are evident here.
“Spanish Days” – as the name suggests contains some Spanish/flamenco moments (however brief) that contrast really well against the group vocals and key change in the chorus! It’s little things like this which shows you the level of investment the band has in the music.
“Tesla” is riffy and a little more “a la Twisted by Design-era” than some of the other songs, an element fans will be familiar with from a band that has made a name for themselves for incorporating techy and metal idea’s into the mix. Note: see the last track “Westcoasttrendkill” for an even finer example!!
On the flip side “Nowheresville” could’ve been lifted off “Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues”. Old school FatWreck/Pop Punk fans..start here! Great vibes!
The only criticism I have of this record is that after about 5 or 6 songs I’m ready to hear something else because it all starts to feel like stuff I’ve heard before. The band is getting better at their craft, there’s no doubt about that, but on “Transmission.Alpha.Delta” they haven’t necessarily broken new ground. Nothing here has me hooked or jonesin’ for what might come next like those first few albums the band put out. For me, “Transmission.Alpha.Delta” feels predictable and a little formulaic… even for Strung Out, coming across as a little safe compared to releases from some of today’s other acts (A Wilhelm Scream, Such Gold, Anchors).
Having said that, this 12 song record showcases a little bit from most of the different Strung Out eras so most fans of the band are going to lap this up! The material will no doubt come alive on stage and would be well worth seeing performed live. Hats off to Fat Wreck for finally getting this out to us because more Strung Out is still better than none!