I don’t think anyone can argue that so far 2020 has been one shitshow after another.
Political dithering and unrest, protest, counter protest, and of course the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. And then there was also no live music shows!
One constant shining light in the darkness has been that the music has not stopped. Like a lot of us, bands and artists have found new ways of reaching out, and new ways of getting together while physically apart. Which of course means that music lovers like us can still hear new music from favourite bands, still delve into the record collection or streaming platform to listen to those favourite songs, and still get to see bands perform “together” live online.
But lockdown has given us all a bit of extra time at home with the opportunity to catch up with music we may be lost track of in our normal busy lives. It’s also given us time to search out new music, new bands and artists that have slipped under the radar. And there are loads.
Among the loads there is always going to be one that stands out, one that really grabs you by the ear. Strawberry Lace are my lockdown discovery. A foursome from Cambridge playing a fusion of so many genres it shouldn’t work. But my God they make it work. Rock, with funk, reggae, soul, jazz and the merest hint of metal sounds like it should be a complete mess. But what a glorious job these guys do of pulling it all together with grooves and absolute killer riffs.
Formed in 2018 at Music College, Ryan Beynon (bass/vocals), Joe Bunton (lead guitar), Olly Crannis (rhythm guitar) and Will Pierpoint (drums) have quickly gone about the business of building sound, songs, and reputation. 2019 saw them release an eponymous five track EP followed by two singles; the riff heavy and almost proggy ‘Ever Be’ and the dreamy reggae ‘Headtop’.
Their next release was the single ‘Jungle’ in January 2020. By mid-March the UK was in lockdown. Like so many bands, the rug was pulled from under their feet. No gigs, no studio time, no rehearsal.
But during lockdown they seem to have been keeping busy and the result is latest single ‘Rumination’. Released on 10th June, it is this track which caught my lockdown attention. The banging riff of the intro was stopping me in my tracks as I plodded my way through my Release Radar playlist on Spotify. “What’s this? Proper heavy rock riff, good honest vocal, killer groove and a good old fashioned beast of a guitar solo? I’ll have more of that please!?”, I thought. Good grief, if this single was vinyl I would have worn it out by now!
And so started my lockdown detour into all things Strawberry Lace. Loads of great riffs, loads of guitar solo wandering, loads of variety and loads of heavy air-guitar rock riff faces from yours truly. Hopefully lockdown has treated you to some new found gems. As we slowly start to emerge back to some kind of normality, from the lyric of ‘Rumination’, “open your mind if you still have it”.
Keep listening, keep searching and keep supporting new music.