Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The Strange Boys' Ryan Sambol seems to have rusted down barbed wire and non-emergency for vocal cords, twisted up into the kind of sound that is classically and arbitrarily rock and roll. His words grate out like lazy razors and rest again, slowly like bubbles, hanging in the air just long enough to get the maximum effect out of all the scruffy and jangly guitar rips and cymbal washes. The lyrics are kindly submitted via an appropriately foggy steam of reverb and they are druggily contextualized to make you have to lean in to catch them and then, the way that Sambol let's them skate around athletically for their dipsy-doos and dosey-dos, they turn into some kind of trippy aberration that rewards you differently the more times they're heard, as if they were never clear and maybe never will be. The Austin, Texas newcomers are sporadic in all of the finest ways, pulling themselves only slightly together, in only so many (or few) different parts, making a ragamuffin version of southern rock and soul that sounds like electric birds squawking only to get a response out of some squawking humans, contributing their imitations and adding the pie cover, keeping all of the cherries and sauce inside the crust. They are that burning feeling of a rough liquor going down the hatch - when it's disagreeable and when it's hitting the spot. Each Strange Boys song contains the characteristics of dubious examples of right and wrong, of the smirks and the provocation, of the brotherhood of hard drinking nights and the altercations that typically end them in a shuffle of shoving ugliness. The Strange Boys turn it all into the kinds of fond memories of those nights, where they're remembered in a way that always makes someone say, "That was a good time, wasn't it? We were so fucked up."
The Strange Boys
In The Red Records