Lenny Kravitz

Strut

Written by: BW on 09/10/2014 19:07:09

I was always under the impression that you had to be in a specific mood to really get into Lenny Kravitz’s music. Let’s be honest, if you were really pushed to give a top 5 of what you like it would start to get a little hazy after the third track (there are 5 by the way, just in case people think I’m being nasty towards him). The reason for saying this is that when you think of him you instantly go to the older stuff that brought his name to the masses, rather than everything else after that. I genuinely didn’t know he had still been creating albums at a good pace before I was researching for this review.

The new album “Strut” seems to go back to the roots of the man, not to mention the very core of what made his original tracks so catchy and good in the first place. What you find whilst listening to the album is a sense of contentment and peace with oneself. There’s a grand funk to things as well. The intro to “Sex” has a David Bowie 80’s feel about it, watching that guitar lace itself through the whole thing in a seductive way, much like the title suggests. It’s what I’d expect from a catchy song, which is to have that hook that doesn’t quite dig in too much to start with, but as the piece progresses it digs a little deeper until you can’t let go. There are many moments in the album that are like this, but you’ll need to dig out the rest yourself.

I think if you really want to show a song that has gotten him both back to his roots and embracing the present and all the experience that’s been learnt since the beginning, you need to look at “New York City”. You’re probably thinking to yourself that you don’t really want to get into ANOTHER song about The Big Apple, seeing as how every recording artist and their grandmother seem to keep revisiting this on a constant basis. It would be like every Scottish act waxing lyrical about Edinburgh, which is never gonna happen. Going back to the track in hand you feel a wave of wonderment hit you due to the nice and clean, yet intelligently simple riff. It is great how one guitar chord and a roaming bass can really keep you hooked and this is a perfect way of showing it off. It also shows that Kravitz’s voice has not lost any of the spark it had 20 years ago. The chorus also allows for some good backing vocals and some nice minor chord work mixing in.

“Strut” doesn’t just stay around these areas either. There are those characteristic slower songs, with some almost screaming out to be played at the end of a wedding reception, such is their nature. I think that with the way the funk just pours out of the album though you can rightfully allow this to be the case. There seems to be an effortless feel about it all and even the usual filler tracks don’t seem to be too much like that, with the possible exception of “Happy Birthday” which does feel like it shouldn’t be there. It isn’t so much the musical ability as such, but the fact it just doesn’t fit into all of the other subject matter in the album. I mean, everything else in this feels like it leans towards seduction, lust and the ability to be a badass and then near the end we’re celebrating your entry into the world with presents and a cheesy song? It just doesn’t seem to work for me. You just know it would only be played when someone is getting another year older.

Other than this little blip though, I find this a really easy album to listen to. This is the best sign of a good album in that it is very effortless to slap it on your PC or CD drive and let it do its stuff. “Strut” has a nice mix of fast and slow, all of it really blending some soul, melodic clarity and some smooth notes in there too. When things seem to be this easy to put together, you also think to yourself that it may well have been hard to put it all together as easily. I have to applaud him for getting his mojo back though and this is a good way for me certainly to get back into the music he played back in the day (heck, I’ve ALWAYS had a soft spot for “Rock and Roll is Dead” even though we all know that will never happen in reality)

Of course, in the grander scheme of things on Rockfreaks this is softer than melted ice cream, and I get that. The thing is though; we can’t always listen to our beloved harder sub-genres 24/7. A break can sometimes be a perfect tonic and as I said earlier, you sometimes have to be in the right mood to listen to an album. If you really want to have something laid back and chilling, with a lashing of funk and soul embedded at the core then this would be a nice little place to start off with. Lenny has managed to create an album which could genuinely prop him back into the limelight a bit more than the previous efforts have, especially when he has such risky and raunchy videos for his singles (naked women anyone?).

All I know is that when I listen to it I get an overwhelming sense of relaxation and that is a cracking pro point in my book when it comes to any album. The majority of the tracks are well paced and with the exception of one or two wrong turns we have a pretty nice record and it is a great slice of American rock mixed with a hint of emotion and some heart. It is well worth a listen, whatever genre you prefer, not to mention this would be a good one to have if your other half is “not too keen” on your music taste. A great balance if you will and a good listen in general terms.

7

Download: Sex, The Chamber, New York City, Ooo Baby Baby
For The Fans Of: Seal, Terence Trent D’Arby, Aerosmith, Santana
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Release date 22.09.2014
Kobalt label Services

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