Bands and artists can be defined by many things, yet at times longevity in the age of brevity can oft be overlooked. Longstanding Simi Valley melodicore outfit Strung Out will never have their fortitude and ‘stick-to-itness’ questioned- 7 albums in and now some 20 years into their existence, they rarely shift away from their melody-driven, sometimes metal, mostly punk vein of expression. Yet with so many artists embroiled in constant questioning of their own artistic credibility and self-worth, it is an amazing feat to see a band so strong in their conviction. They will probably never exceed their current level of global recognition or cross over any more than they have, but there is something truly commendable about their own self-realization.
Agents of the Underground is their finest work in a very, very long time- combining the urgency and razor sharp aggression of Exile in Oblivion with the grace of Blackhawks Over Los Angeles while still evoking the kind of introspection found on Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues. It’s relentless attitude (“Black Crosses”, “The Fever and The Sound”, “Heart Attack”) is a reminder that Strung Out still possess and musical mean streak best defined, rightfully in their own words, as ‘sonic defiance.’
There is substance with their fire, and in “Andy Warhol” (a song deserving of a highlight in its own right) their servitude and continued appeal is summarized with precision; “You can’t write a song if you’ve never lost anything you’ve truly loved.” It gets you every time. For a band that has been around for so long, they still sing and write songs with venom in their hearts as it continues to make sense of this disappointing world. (Fat Wreck)