They might not be old enough to drink, but The Strypes have plenty of rock ‘n’ roll spirit as they release their debut album.
‘You can’t judge a book by looking at the cover’ sing the band on their first record, Snapshot.
And as blues fans will know, it’s a line from ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover’, a song originally written by Willie Dixon, one of Chess Records’ finest songwriters, and first recorded by blues pioneer Bo Diddley in 1962.
The Strypes aren’t the first band to cover the song. The four-piece, from the small town of Cavan in Ireland, are following the example of The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Monkees, Hank Williams and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.
The track isn’t just a classic, a rite of passage for any aspiring blues band, it’s also quite a handy message to anyone ready to write off The Strypes as a novelty.
They’re young, you see. Guitarist Josh McClorey, who’s just turned 17, is the eldest, while singer Ross Farrelly was 16 a couple of weeks ago, the same age as bassist Pete O’Hanlon and drummer Evan Walsh.
“The age thing, it’s more abnormal now than it was a few decades ago,” says Walsh. “Lots of punk bands were in their late teens, proper angry young men.
“And we’re not much younger than Jake Bugg or Palma Violets,” adds O’Hanlon.
It’s no wonder they have a strong response prepared, as it’s a question they’ve faced before, along with the claim that they were put together by the same record label who oversaw Jake Bugg’s success as a sort of Bob Dylan for the Twitter generation.
“The most unlikely thing is actually the truth,” says the Bieber-fringed McClorey. “We’re just four friends from school who love the same music and wanted to be in a band.
“There’s a lot of cynicism, and people saying that we can’t be real because we’re young, but I just say, ‘Give it a chance’.”
When the band first started playing in the UK last year, their set largely consisted of covers but since then they’ve eased into original material.
Arctic Monkeys, who saw them at Glastonbury, immediately asked them to open up the shows on their forthcoming October tour, and Paul Weller, after inviting them to play before him at a performance at Abbey Road Studios last year, said he was blown away by their sheer talent, particularly McClorey’s precocious guitar-playing.
“It’s just incredible that we’re going to support them in October,” says McClorey. “We really admire what they do, they’ve never been pushed in any direction by anyone.
“If that’s not something to aspire to, what is?”