The Strugglers – Done By the Strugglers

The Strugglers
Done By the Strugglers

The Strugglers blend bits and pieces of folk, country, and rock into their unique, lo-fi sound. The production quality is far from great, but that’s what you get when you make an album on a four-track recorder. Besides, the concept is simple enough that glossy production would almost make it look foolish. Brice Randall leads the Strugglers, and the album features a handful of contributions from assorted other musicians.
There aren’t very many things to analyze here, as the sound is pretty basic, so let’s take things one song at a time. “Introduction” starts things off as a simple, folky number with nothing more than repetitive acoustic guitar, a touch of keyboard during the instrumental breaks, and vocals that are odd and honky-tonk in nature throughout the entire album but often interesting in their storytelling style. “Goodness Gracious” is a pretty little song, with the acoustic guitar and voice filled out by some barely audible bass and an excessively simple drumbeat. Next comes “Taking Off,” the first standout track here: a darker song with keyboard effects wavering in the background. “Bygone Trends” returns to the full band sound and lo-fi effects, feeling musically and lyrically like a bunch of stoned kids jamming in the garage.
“Night Course” has the same feel, but it’s slightly more polished and much more intriguing, while “On the Beach” seems to come completely out of left field with its funky hi-hat taps and catchy guitar hooks. “Knot In Your Shoestring” follows as a largely electronic track, sounding as if it was put together on one of those Casio keyboards I used to have when I was a kid. “Song of Long Lines” returns to the simplicity of a man singing and gently strumming on his acoustic guitar. “On the Way to the Grave” comes just in time as the next to last track, and it is by far the best song on the album, featuring a touch of piano, handclaps, and some slightly jazzy drum and bass work. Things then come to a close with “Virginy,” a sad number built around church-like organ sounds that clash slightly with the vocals, but overall it is an appropriate way to bring a solid but less-than-eventful album to a solid but less-than-eventful close.