There is no soft soap for The Strypes in Julien Temple’s sharp music documentary
Get them while they’re young? It’s a credo once embraced by the Jesuits, as well as by the music industry, so the lionising in some quarters-of Cavan band The Strypes (all four members of which have yet to reach the ripe old age of 20) shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
However, fly-on-the-wall music documentary, The Strypes: Best Thing since Cavan, is far from typical. Directed by British filmmaker Julien Temple, we get the usual home movies featuring fourtous led-haired tyke splaying musical instruments too big for them to carry. Fast-forward a few years, and the barely post-pubescent band play The Late Late Show, get signed by Universal, get praised for their gigs, get criticised for their obvious appropriation of a specific musical style, release a weak debut album, and – then what?
What happens next is where Temple’s documentary gets very interesting. While it’s obvious that the lads can play, their musical modus operandi is questioned as Temple focuses on how they ended up playing guitar-shredding rhythm’ n’ blues. Other creases appear: mentor sessions with industry songwriters are abandoned; their major label A&R dismisses a clutch of songs for their second album; and there’s clear conflict between main songwriter, guitarist Josh McClory, and the rest of his mates.Cue fears about the future, parental fretting, and the sight of four teenagers (and a band) very much in flux. As the documentary signs off with “the story continues”, we’re left wondering if there’ll even be a second album.
The Strypes: Best Thing since Cavan, is on BBC Two, March 22, 10pm