Formed in Hampshire, The Straights are a rock ‘n’ roll band with a unique sound for their generation. They consist of George Years (vocals), Billy May (lead and rhythm guitar), Michael Arthur (bass guitar and backing vocals), and Jack Crash (drums and percussion). The band have gained a loyal following around Hampshire, releasing their debut EP ‘Piece of Mind’ in April. Three extra b-sides complete the EP, adding their own unique flavour.
Title track, ‘Piece of Mind’ is dangerous and exciting. The guitar riff is reminiscent of The Sex Pistols because it brings a snarling attitude to their music. I love the solo because it gives the song a classic rock twist, making me think of the Manic Street Preachers. Jack’s drumming and Michael’s bass keep a strong backbeat, demonstrating how tight the musicianship is. George’s vocals have a lot of swagger and carry the song forward. The chorus is an instant earworm as George sings: “And I’m waiting tonight / to be by your side / in a place we can hide / for a little piece of mind.” It’s definitely one of my favourite choruses of the year because I can see it resonating with a lot of people.
It’s great how The Straights mix different styles on the EP because it shows they’re not a one trick pony. ‘Shout For Me’ has a big classic rock riff, with a solo that makes me want to headbang. I can tell they had a lot of fun recording this song because there’s so much passion. ‘What a Life’ is a bluesy track that sounds like it goes perfectly with sun and a glass of cider. It makes me want to dance, really showing their diversity.
‘Dream Out Loud’ is a beautiful acoustic track. The band recorded it live and it could be about George following his dream. When he sings “Walking down this one way track / swear you won’t look back”, he lets out all his emotion and creates a powerful listen. The heavy hard strums on the acoustic guitar work very well because they match the determined vocal delivery.
‘Piece of Mind’ is a perfect introduction to The Straights because it’s got a variety of styles. The listener can feel the blood, sweat, and tears that’s gone into this EP, and I’m sure it’ll bode well for their future.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos