Seconds into the EP’s opener, it is clear of Strange and Partners’ intentions. ‘Push it’ begins with an infectious, familiar riff bellowing out of the right speaker which you would swear is being played by Ray Davies; a soloing lead joins in the left speaker, and you’d be adamant that George Martin was behind the mixing desk. Throw in some innocuous lyrics of yearning for a dance partner, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was Mick Jagger putting pen to paper. The running theme here is the 1960s, and the band have that era’s sound nailed. Frontman Richy Westley brazenly wears his influences on his sleeve throughout the eighteen minute running time and, like his peers, certainly has a good ear for a hook.
‘Find a way’ is reminiscent of The Coral before they turned to wallflowers. “We don’t have to run and hide / our love will find a way” croons Westley over raucous guitars and military beats. Closing the EP, ‘Right end wrong hand’ is perhaps the money shot; a slow-burner that rewards you for your patience as the track builds on boy/girl vocals, cycling bass lines and rich electric organs before it culminates into a multi-layered vocal pay-off.
It was a long time coming since their formation, but Strange and Partners have started off on the right foot with this record. Their shared love of happy-go-lucky rock ‘n’ roll certainly fills the void that bands like Supergrass and The Zutons have seemingly left behind, and it seems that this is just a sketch of things to come.