[sic] Magazine

Stroszek – Manufacturing Consent EP

“In the last film I ever saw
They wore suits and they wore ties
In the last film I ever saw
They kept the change and they told lies”

‘The Last Film’ – Kissing The Pink

What should we expect from a band that calls itself Stroszek? Clever, clever career move that. It establishes the bands proclaimed love of Herzog but not only that. As this is music not film, it also leads to inevitable mentions of Joy Division. (Stroszek was the last film Curtis watched before his suicide). Our Glaswegians may well deny the link and even the intent but the deed, the damage will already be done. Expectation will be established. Minds will be aroused. Faded hope in the hearts of music-lovers will be re-ignited. And all down to their choice of name! Scratch “clever”. That is positively artful. Speaking of which, just look at sleeve art.

The name, the artwork – I could stop here. You already know you want this.

Of course they aren’t like Joy Division. (Same ballpark – different players) Stroszek are neither ‘street’ nor preachy yet you’d be forgiven for conjuring the Manics when you first encounter the Scots. (Put it down to the Army fatigues and the fact that they’d happily “kill fascists”. Oh and one of the band is called Richey James). Personally, no disrespect to the Manics but I think there is more to Stroszek than mere sloganeering. Their ‘literate’ credentials are revealed by various reference-pointers to the more dystopian writers, most obviously Orwell and Bradbury. And there is a mania to opening track ‘Burning Libraries’ – its high-paced programming hissing and snapping like an enraged Cobra desparate to slip your grip. Doug Daniel’s ‘wrought iron’ basslines must be the safest place in the world for a sensitive soul to hide. Personally, the bassist evokes strong memories of founder Cocteau Twin, Will Heggie’s (ex Lowlife.) naturalistic style while Les Willox’s minimalist guitar licks are borderline erotic.

“There are backs that cry for the knife.”

Stroszek repeatedly remind us of the difference between good lyrics and obvious lyrics. The EP shifts onto its keystone ‘Dancing on the Motorway’, a track which is simultaneously nihilistic and sensual. (Freud and Jung would have fought, bare-knuckle, over me.) “Raise your voice and raise your fist” Robertson implores us – a line that is pure McCarthy. (From ‘Get a knife between your teeth’ if memory serves?) It may be a steal but it is theft from the very highest of tables in my book. Of course, had Stroszek hailed from London, dancing on the motorway would be an entirely risk-free activity – the M25 being little more than a snails pace, carousel parking lot. But they are from Glasgow and ‘This Town Revisited’ is awash with the same haunted organ/keyboards that so distinguished The Antiques ‘Awake’ last year. And it is here that Robertson sounds most like his vocal idol, Howard Devoto.

Final track ‘Sound The Last Post’ resembles a Cabaret Voltaire remix of ‘Heaven up here’-era Bunnymen before its climactic ‘wall of sound’ cyclone carries us over the rainbow.

So what do we really expect from Stroszek now? What could we expect?

bq. A new band to invest our hope in?
The voice of a generation?
Posters and T-shirts as the latest student life-statement?
A band to believe in?
A band that matters?
A debut album that just might cement its importance in musical history? (Fuckin’ wait ‘til you hear ‘Sleepwalkers’)

No. We don’t expect any of this. We demand. And if that’s unfair, if we’re dreaming, fully in the knowledge that Stroszek are little more than raw material right now, still we anticipate the Taj Mahal.

I say, dare to dream.

“Potential is never good enough”