I have talked about these guy before. I told you how refreshing their style of play is, I’ve said how good they are musically and I’ve talked about Joe Pickering’s voice, yet I feel the need to go further.
Some will know that I’m a sucker for the Hammond organ, a key board is good, if it’s played well, but a Hammond organ… well that’s something else. The Strangler Figs don’t have a Hammond organ but you wouldn’t know it. The way Freddie Pickering uses the keyboard gives the strong impression that he has a Hammond organ hidden away somewhere, up his sleeve or in a different dimension, just out of sight of the rest of us… I don’t know where but I’m sure it’s there… somewhere! You can hear it running through every song complementing Joe’s voice and guitar play and answering the call of the bass line.
Now when I say ‘Bass line’ I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. Sometimes the drums can drowned out the Bass but this is not the case for the Strangler Figs. James Lyons, who, incidental is as mad as a bag of spanners, bangs out the beat with vigour but intelligently, he knows his stuff and does it very well indeed. Then there’s the Bass itself. Well, when I say ‘Bass’ I mean double Bass not bass guitar. It’s often difficult on stage to keep instruments in tune, this is particularly the case for acoustic instruments, so imagine how difficult it must be to keep a double bass in tune for a full set. Well that’s just what you get from Joel Hanson’s double bass, impressive if not ever so slightly barking!
All of this is brought together by the backing vocals of Rosie May Price who is most certainly not there to be part of the furniture but an integral part of the line-up and Joe’s unique vocal range and intellectually mature lyrics adds layers that simply isn’t available to other groups.