Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Strapps - Strapps (1976 uk / australia, groovy hard rock, japanese issue)

This UK hard rock quartet was formed in 1975 by Ross Stagg (vocals, guitar), Noel Scott (keyboards), Joe Read (bass) and Mick Underwood (drums; ex-Quatermass), and were picked up by EMI Records the following year. Drawing their inspiration from Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy and Uriah Heep, they released four albums over a five-year period. These met with very limited success, except in Japan, where they maintained a cult following. Strapps never graduated from support act status in Europe, which was a fair summation of their true potential. The band disintegrated in 1979, when Underwood joined Gillan. 

Strapps' self-titled debut LP had deep ties to Deep Purple: drummer Mick Underwood had been in Episode Six with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover in the late '60s (and would in the late '70s join Gillan's band), and the album was co-produced by Glover. Predictably, there's some similarity to the sort of hard rock Deep Purple had popularized by the mid-'70s, though the similarity's not too intense. Less predictably, there's a good deal of Mott the Hoople-ism going on here, though this glam rock-hard rock crossover isn't nearly as good as Mott in the song or vocal department, even if songwriter and lead singer Ross Stagg has a way of sing-speaking that recalls Ian Hunter. 

There's some kinkiness, and even traces of S&M, in the opening cuts "School Girl Funk" and "Dreaming," an epic ballad with strings in "Suicide," and -- also in the mold of Mott the Hoople -- more prominent piano than in much such British rock music of the period. It's not bad, but it's derivative and the songs don't have enormous staying power, consigning this to the lower tier for those who collect obscurities of the late glam era.
by Richie Unterberger
1. School Girl Funk - 4:27
2. Dreaming - 5:04
3. Rock Critic - 4:19
4. Oh! The Night - 4:40
5. Sanctuary - 4:00
6. I Long to Tell You Too - 5:21
7. In Your Ear - 3:23
8. Suicide - 7:03 
All titles by Ross Stagg

*Ross Stagg - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*Joe Read - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Mick Underwood - Drums
*Noel Scott - Keyboards