Straight Lines – Freaks Like Us

By Tom Aylott

A few years back, Straight Lines released a fantastic debut album, and though the band maybe haven’t got the breaks that an album like ‘Persistence In This Game’ should have given them, they’ve taken the spirit of that title and returned with a ten track follow up.

‘Freaks Like Us’ is a little less Billy Talent and a little more reminisce of their local contemporaries but, overall, it’s a very natural progression from the last effort and one that carries the same positive energy that made the last such an enjoyable listen.

Every aspect of Straight Lines’ approach sounds more refined here, and the sheer volume of melodies and hooks that are instantly hummable and stuck inside your head across the album makes it an enthralling and involving listen.

The opening salvo of title track ‘Freaks Like Us’, latest single ‘Commitments’, ‘Half Gone’ and ‘Ring The Bells’ will be familiar to those who keep an eye on the band, but by the time the best chorus and guitar tone of the album arrive in ‘Empty Chest’, it’s fairly obvious that Straight Lines have followed up a contender for album of the year with another set of belters.

The vocal/guitar chorus that kicks off ‘Back Of Your Mind’ sets up a fantastic mid-tempo effort, and through ‘The Dealer’s Hand’ and ‘To Be Scene’ the band’s pace returns, complete one of the album’s highlights in the excellent middle 8 of the latter tune.

‘Bury My Thoughts’ takes the pace down again for a gentler number, and though it’s carried by a strong vocal a little and one the band might be wise to leave out of the live set, it sets up vibrant closer ‘So Many Paths’ in fine fashion.

On the strength of the last two records, Straight Lines deserve a much higher profile than they have now, but there’s no reason that after the release of ‘Freaks Like Us’ that they won’t take their rightful place – away and out of the support slots and playing much bigger headline shows themselves.

Straight Lines are an interesting and unique British rock band, and ‘Freaks Like Us’ is a solid string to their bow. Strongly recommended for anyone that enjoys a good singalong and fancies an album full of positive vibes as the summer approaches.


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