In The Spotlight

The Strut: new album, sound

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bandoftheweek

free weekly staff

A Fayetteville band has come up with a sound that puts them in a category all their own. The Strut has created what we’ll call, for lack of a better descriptor, classical rap. The band has just released their first album, “Rappers Today, Vol. 1.” and will play Opal Fly’s Feel Good Lounge on Sunday night.

The Strut amps up the rap and hip-hop genre with orchestral sounds that are more akin to string quartet. The lyrics, including the f-word, are delivered in stiff and proper King’s English by violinist and guitarist Ryan Cockerham who sounds more like a newscaster than a street rapper.

But The Strut comes by their sound honestly. Emerging from the classical and jazz disciplines, the musicians are known more for their conventional performances than this sarcastic mix of rap, funk, hip-hop and classical.

In addition to Cockerham, the professionally educated clan is: Drew Packard (guitar and vocals), Garrett Jones (bass and vocals) Chad Safarik (drums) and Michael Adkins (drums). Although the music is playful, technically it is primo. Clear and clean guitar and violin riffs are enhanced by funky bass lines and an exotic mix of drums and percussions.

However, the story doesn’t stop with the music. The band dons costumes and stages a light show to draw their audiences into their world. The Strut’s cleverness also transfers to their album.

Each of the nine songs on the CD is introduced by a “radio dj” and a robot. Prepare for some comedic relief, as “Sir Rap-o-Tron” describes the formation of the band, from its roaring success to its tragic end.

Songs on the album range from the slow lament about the blue-collar lifestyle in “Blues in the Key of Corporate,” to a raunchy depiction of Julia Childs’ “vacation” in “Down South.”

After the Sunday night show, the band will hit the road. They’ll first play The Aardvark in Fort Worth and then New York City, where they’ll play two days in the subway tunnels. Next month, Jones will head out for a tour with Capstone Theatrical’s production of “The Taffetas.” The band will be back in NWA to play Wakarusa in June.

Check them out online at www.myspace.com/strutlove.

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