Both released in 2017, Never Tweet Your Heroes and Explicit Content were 2 EPs released by electronic punk band The Strays, both with unique, upbeat and downright weird songs.
The Strays – Never Tweet Your Heroes
Release Date: December 26th, 2017 (Re-Released January 26th, 2018)
Label: German Shepherd Records
Never Tweet Your Heroes is a strange mix of electronic beats, down-to-earth British punk lyrics and pop culture quotes. The first song, ‘Don’t Get Sick’, has a very basic beat but some hard hitting lyrics about the NHS and UK healthcare. It’s strangely catchy with the fast paced and upbeat instrumental and the spoken word lyrics and showcases what’s to come with the rest of the EP.
‘No Solution’ starts with a Twilight Zone quote which is something I love in songs, when they rip audio from pop culture. No Solution is the shortest song but is jammed with more references, upbeat and somewhat 16-bit music and repetitive lyrics. ‘Gone In The Head‘ also features this, with a fantastic back track that sounds straight from a game, repetitive lyrics used effectively with topics about mental health and insanity.
‘Pay Per View‘ is one of the oddest songs of the bunch, as it also includes an attempt at singing and the most lyrics of any of the songs, with actual choruses. This seems weird for the 4th song of the album, and it’s certainly not the best, but again, the backing track is amazing.
The final song, ‘Milk and Honey‘ has another 80s/16-bit back track that sounds similar to Cars by Gary Newman. The lyrics mention how the singer wants to be a pain to someone (possibly a lover) as they don’t work together, and is similar in layout to the previous song. The singing in this song works a lot better and the back track includes some actual instruments, which work well with the electronic beat.
Never Tweet Your Heroes shows some technical improvements from their first EP (below) as well as some good uses of audio rips and some superb instrumental beats.
Recommended Track: Gone In The Head
The Strays – Explicit Content
Release Date: July 1st, 2017 (Re-Released January 26th, 2018)
Label: German Shepherd Records
The first song, ‘Johnny Mnemonic‘ starts with a hard-hitting electronic beat, with lyrics about all things money. There’s still the spoken work punk lyrics style and pop culture references, however the quality is somewhat lower, and the audio rip for the Johnny Mnemonic reference is quite bad.
‘Don’t Mither Me‘ has a basic electronic beat and more rough singing that undermines the good spoken word pacing and lyrics. ‘Immaculate‘ brings back the normal electronic beat and spoken word, but the back track has an amazing breakdown towards the end that really works with the song.
‘All Goes Wrong‘ starts like a modern pop song, but then the drum beat kicks in and brings it back to their usual sound. This quick paced, upbeat music contradicts the slightly slower, more depressing lyrics about failure and it fits very well. ‘Wind Your Neck In’ showcases the proper British punk that makes this band unique, with a explicit chorus and verses about drug use, like a Trainspotting tribute song.
‘TV Dinner‘ has strong worded lyrics about TV news, with blatant references to Channel 4, BBC and Sky. These are my favourite lyrics from both their EPs, showing how the news channels scare us to get views, and the back track is another fast paces electronic beat that sounds straight from a video game.
The final song, ‘Death In The Viper Room‘ starts off with a soft, calm beat and turns into an impressive piano beat under the spoken word lyrics, and a much improved sung chorus. The beat sounds amazing when it becomes muffled after this and reminds me of some other electronic songs I enjoy.
Overall, their first EP has some impressive songs, with the best being saved for the last 2, with such a contrast between them.
Recommended Track: Death In The Viper Room
The 2 EPs both sound similar, but you can hear the improvements made in just a few months. They keep the hard hitting lyrics such as in ‘TV Dinner’ and improve the instrumentals to video game quality electronic beats. I’ll definitely be listening to a few of these songs again. I prefer the first EP, Explicit Content, just because of the last 2 songs, which I highly suggest you listen to.