Strung Out – Black Out The Sky

Melodic punk band Strung Out have just released a new EP, titled Black Out The Sky. It’s a little different to their usual work as the tracks on the EP are mostly acoustic (thus being a lot less heavy than the band’s usual stuff), but it’s still makes for an interesting listen.

By Jane Howkins

Of course, there will be some who are automatically put off by the change in direction on Black Out The Sky, but to us that seems a little narrow minded and we do recommend at least trying the EP out before writing it off straight away, as there are some good tracks here. The majority of the eight songs present are new tracks, however there are a couple of older ones that have been covered in acoustic fashion, such as Matchbook and UnCoil. These versions do sound very different from the originals, but take a few listens and you might even find yourself enjoying them more – Matchbook sounds particularly good in this format.

Whilst the tracks are all performed in an acoustic way, we like how Strung Out have managed to utilise the full band. Piano tinkles intermingle with acoustic guitar strums and small electric riffs, and a light form of percussion has also been added into the mix. In that regard, it’s perhaps not strictly acoustic if you’re a purist, with this style of production instead acting as a nice transition between Strung Out’s more well known work as a punk band and full on acoustic tracks. Requiem even features quite a heavy bit in the second half of the song, and is perhaps our favourite of all the tracks featured on the EP.

Whilst tracks like UnKoil are fairly slow and sound like typical singer-songwriter fare, others such as Duke of Sorrow feature a slightly faster sound – although here it sounds a little more country than punk. One of the main criticisms of this EP is that in toning their sound down, Strung Out have produced something that almost sounds a little too country at times. Opening track The Architect actually sounded a bit post grunge at first, which is something we would recommend the band stay away from in the future.

Black Out The Sky is well worth checking out for any Strung Out fan – just be prepared for how different it sounds to the music they usually produce. It doesn’t always work, but for a first acoustic outing it’s pretty impressive, and it’s good to hear a punk band trying something different.

Take a listen to the video for Requiem below and see what you think: