The Strange Boys | Be Brave
Most Likely To: generate an extremely pleasant case of nostalgia.
What if Blonde on Blonde-era Dylan had fronted the 12 x 5-era Stones? The result might sound a little like Be Brave from Austin’s The Strange Boys. What’s really so strange is that we waited four and a half decades for a band to arrive at this permutation, because it’s a winner.
To be clear, Be Brave covers no new ground. Singer/guitarist Ryan Sambol considers The Black Lips, with whom The Strange Boys have shared both a stage and a label, to be an influence; something the band makes no effort to conceal. But The Strange Boys will appeal to anyone who has wished there could be just one more Yardbirds record. The guitars jangle, the harmonicas wail, and the rhythm section thumps in lock step whilst Sambol rasps and wails. His vocal style fits his lyrics, as he is most often singing of love gone wrong (“Dare I Say,” “The Unsent Letter”).
Though the longest track on Be Brave clocks in at just 3:15, The Strange Boys pack a lot of variety into those precious few minutes. From the up tempo (“I See,” “Night Might,”) to the down tempo (“Between Us,” “You Can’t Only Love When You Want To”), the songs hold the listener’s attention, although the band is probably at its best when it shakes up the tempo mid-stream (“A Walk on the Bleach,” “Be Brave”).
The only thing that brings The Strange Boys into the 21st century is the presence of a girl, Jenna Thornhill DeWitt (recently ex-Mika Miko) on sax and backing vocals. Her addition makes the title of The Strange Boys 2008 debut, The Strange Boys and Girls Club, all the more fitting.
Watch the video for “Be Brave” below: