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If you listened to "Songs of Armor and Devotion" with no prior knowledge ofStrung Out, you probably wouldn’t guess that the California band has been together for almost 30 years – such is the intensity and fresh energy of these 13 songs. Produced by Cameron Webb, who was behind the helm of 2009’s "Agents of the Underground", it’s a record that brims with the same ferocious fire the band had at the very start of its career when frontman Jason Cruz was still a teenager, but which also demonstrates how far the California five-piece have evolved as songwriters, musicians and people.
You can hear how that is – how true that still is – from the beginning to the end of "Songs of Armor and Devotion". It’s a punk record, but it’s also much more than that. It’s a political record that addresses the state we’re in, but at its core is a heart and humanity –and a belief in that humanity – that overrides everything else. It’s pain and sadness and hope and rebellion all wrapped into one powerful statement that also serves as a culmination of the band’s three decades together. And while the record sees Strung Out still writing at the height of their abilities, at the same time, when Cruz reflects back on these songs, he thinks they represent something monumental for the band, even if he’s not entirely sure what that actually is.
“I find that it’s time for a new adventure,” he says. “I feel like I’ve given what I needed to give to Strung Out. I feel like we did what we needed to do and it’s time to move on. I’ve grown. I’m not angry like I used to be – I feel like this was the end of something, and now it’s time for a new life. I look back on the record and I think ‘Done.’ For me personally, it’s a new beginning. We still have a lot left and as long as we listen to each other and we care about what each other has to say, I don’t see an end forStrung Out. I just don’t want to repeat things that I’ve done. I can’t write like that anymore.
Templeton Pek (Punk, Alternative Rock | UK)