Frustration is a seed easily sown in the minds of mortal men and one that’s incredibly well personified by music in its many forms, the most undeniable of the bunch being punk rock. Brisbane three-piece The Strums seem well aware of the frustration in the lamentations of their new single Bare Hands.
Bare Hands is as cathartic as it is catchy; as violent as it is soothing. This is The Strums at the top of their songwriting game.
Such frustration grows wild in the hearts of those forever experiencing failure in life and love, so, basically, everyone. You know who you are, driving home at 2am face burning hot from tears of anger, hands stinging a red glow from desperate slaps on the steering wheel, mind performing an epileptic slide-show of negative imagery all as your world comes crashing down, and not for lack of trying.
Indulgent hyperbolic descriptions aside, the sentiment is clear and familiar to us all. You could say, attempting to grasp onto the drenched soap bar of maturity and passion is like trying to catch smoke, with your bare hands. Well, The Strums did say this, repeatedly, in fact.
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The repetition of the idiomatic hook in Bare Hands is symbolic of frustration as it crescendoes, acting as a sonic plume of smoke in itself, penetrating your ear drums and unboxing your inner punk with euphoric results. The opening bars sing hard and proud, crunching guitars against bass like chewing gum between your teeth.
Singer, Jai Sparks is a caged animal, sounding as though his shuddering voice is only just restrained from utter nuclear annihilation, which occurs later in the song. Seeming stripping layers of flesh from his vocal chords at the song’s climax, Sparks’ visceral and unapologetic release is exactly the cathartic experience we all crave in the throws of social damnation.
Bare Hands is an ode to frustration, yes however, in itself, the track is its own liberation and that of all who care to listen in. Music is often spoken of as the catalyst for emotional freedom and Bare Hands is a dominating example of what happens when an artist pours every drop of expression into their work.
The track isn’t just a bubbling volcano of emotion however, it’s a catchy, uplifting and divinely Australian punk freight train. The dynamic hill climbs, from ecstatic highs to reflective and sparse lows, build each instrument performance into an ear worm of its own.
Bare Hands is accessible and relatable in its simplicity but, is not to be underestimated. Laying, smirking underneath thick mounds of punk dirt is a story told perfectly and a song crafted with the complexity and thoughtful presence that betray the genre’s conventions in the most beautiful way.
If ever you’re feeling entangled in the thorny vines of life’s vast challenges, throw on a track like Bare Hands and feel your soul leave your body to take a hot, soothing shower in the endless freedom and ecstatic power of punk rock.
The Strums Bare Hands tour dates:
Bare Hands Tour
Friday 15th April Sol Bar Sunshine Coast
Friday 22nd April The Old Bar Melbourne
Saturday 23rd April Brighton Up Bar Sydney
Thursday 28th April The Northern Byron Bay (Supporting Richie Ramone)
Saturday 14th May Black Bear Lodge Brisbane