Album Review: Strung Out – Transmission.Alpha.Delta

In a world where punk rock has seen some significant changes of late, it’s good to see the Fat Wreck institution still alive and well. With the triumph of Lagwagon’s ‘Hang’ at the end of last year, and the welcomed return of Good Riddance soon to follow, there’s evidently still ample space in our hearts for the Skatepunk heroes we once grew up with.

It’s safe to say that Strung Out, for the best part of their 20 plus years of existence have remained admirably consistent. Frequently putting out new material whilst maintaining busy touring schedules across a decade and a half, the band have well and truly earned their place as long-term label heavyweights.

Since the release of ‘Agents of the Underground’ in 2009 however, fans have been awaiting an 8th studio album for the past six years. Unsurprisingly ‘Transmission.Alpha.Delta’ comes as a welcome sigh of relief in 2015.

What becomes apparent on first listen of this record is that the band’s six-year interval doesn’t appear to have spawned any major departures for them. Instead there is a distinct familiarity that seems to run throughout; from the ripping guitar licks of opener ‘Rats in the Walls’ to the pop-punk penultimate ‘No Apologies’, this immediately feels like an incarnation of the band with which we are well acquainted.

One man at least partially responsible is producer and long-term Strung Out fan, Kyle Black. Having previously worked with bands such as Comeback Kid and Paramore, Kyle is said to have played a major role in “celebrating” the band’s well established sound, according to Frontman Jason Cruz.

But whilst paying homage to the band’s two-decade discography, ’T.A.D’ encompasses a more mature, more refined sound altogether. Lyrics tackling themes from faith to fatherhood are expertly delivered across impressive range. Choral backing vocals and elevating guitar lines soar through this record in ways previously unexplored by the band, and are all the more complemented by a somewhat cleaner, more polished production sound. “Instead of just soloing” says Cruz, “we’ve incorporated the solos into the actual structure of the songs”. This certainly proves to be a winning formula and furthermore contributes to a distinctly “complete” feel throughout.

It has to be said there are occasional longings for the band’s heavier, more metallic influences that perhaps shone a little brighter on previous offerings. Fleeting moments in ‘Rebellion of the Snakes’ and ‘Go It Alone’ are reminders of the band’s sheer capacity in this field, seamlessly fusing ferocious breakdowns against pop punk backdrops.

It’s fair to say Strung Out aren’t taking any major risks with this record but that certainly doesn’t seem to be a problem here. ‘Transmission.Alpha.Delta’ is the embodiment of a sound that has been maturing for decades, delivered in one neatly packaged, quite stunning record.


‘Transmission.Alpha.Delta’ by Strung Out is out now on Fat Wreck Chords.

Strung Out links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Matt Carson.


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