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Strung Out – A Case for Punk Aging Well

Punk bands aren’t supposed to age well, so one would expect that after 27 years, more than a dozen releases, Strung Out was in the afterglow of a long and successful career, when full-blown middle age all but vaporizes any remaining pretense of youthful punk ethos. One could sympathize with a band that built its name within the confines of “punk metal” if they eventually lost their creative vigor and went alt. One could forgive a founding member or two for bailing, sending the remaining bandmates into the inertia of failed solo projects and one-off anniversary gigs. History would be the guide.
And yet, none of those scenarios has materialized for Strung Out, who has done the seemingly unthinkable. They’ve dug deeper into fast, melodic punk, somehow pushed it further, and last year released – no bullshit – their best work, Transmission.Alpha.Delta. It’s a fantastic record, from front to back, with some of the strongest songs they’ve ever penned (“Rebellion of the Snakes”, “The Animal and the Machine”, and “Black Maps” to name a few). Vocalist Jason Cruz has said in interviews that he’s not one to get sentimental about the band’s accomplishments, that Strung Out is forward-thinking and more or less bound by the common goal of progress. It couldn’t be any more evident. With its bright production work – producer Kyle Black gets a deserving nod here – Transmission could be considered a rebirth, but it is more the latest step for a band that mystifyingly continues to push ahead in a genre built on and revered for its sonic simplicity. Good for them.