Ska band Strange Tenants may be 37 years young, but this year promises to be one of their most exciting and productive with the release of their 8th album Militant Style.
The title references the unique power ska drumming technique of their late drummer Jeff Denny, who passed away last year, as well as reflecting the agitational politics that drives their lyrics.
As noted on the inner sleeve of this album ‘‘if you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing’’.
But what makes this album so special is that at long last, after a musical journey which began in Collingwood in 1981, the band finally found a record producer/engineer to bring out the best in the band – none other than Grammy Award winning producer Roger Lomas, from Coventry in the UK, who has produced The Specials, The Selecter, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and virtually all the world’s major ska/reggae acts.
The result is the best sounding album Strange Tenants have ever done and they couldn’t be more pleased.
‘‘Roger agreed to produce/mix our album because he said he loved the quality of our songs and musicianship, and we were rapt to be able to work with him because he intuitively knew what sound we wanted. If I wasn’t such a militant atheist, I’d say it was a match made in heaven,’’ front man Bruce Hearn said.
Militant Style is a sophisticated and musically diverse album, comprising ska, reggae and soul rhythms, with moods ranging from uplifting and upbeat numbers such as We Are The Firm - with its pop-art coloured accompanying video filmed on the streets of London — and Teenage Zombie to the more menacing Governments Around the World and the melancholy Love is Blind and a re-working of their classic Grey Skies Over Collingwood.
Forget about what you previously knew about ska and reggae, as the Militant Style album is a superior product to any that have come before it in terms of musicianship, vocal quality and song-writing – a world class album by a world class band.
Strange Tenants are renowned for their full-on powerful and dynamic live shows and this tour, featuring an eight piece line-up, promises to deliver their unique brand of power ska and reggae like never before.
The shows will also promote Strange Tenants: The Godfathers of Australian Ska – a new book written by Lorann Downer about the unique contribution this iconic band has made to Australia’s alternative music scene and culture.
Also set for release later this year, is a documentary which will give a powerful insight into this mythical underground outfit and their ability to muster (against all odds) a massive legion of fans known fondly as the Tenants Army.
Catch Strange Tenants at the Brass Monkey in Cronulla on Saturday, November 17.