Strung Out Announce New Album; Stream New Song

Strung Out will release Songs of Armor and Devotion on August 9th. Today they’ve released the new song “Daggers” and pre-orders are up.

Songs of Armor and Devotion was created out an inherent need for Strung Out frontman Jason Cruz to reveal his fresh feelings on loss, the current state of America, and his continued drive to further his connection with fans through more dynamic, and evolved, songwriting. It’s a punk record, but it’s also much more than that. It’s a political record that addresses the state we’re in, but at its core maintains a belief that humanity overrides everything. It’s pain and sadness and hope and rebellion all wrapped into one powerful statement that also serves as a culmination of the band’s three decades together.

“Some songs can be armor: they can repel and they can guard you,” explains Cruz. “And they can also bring you comfort and speak of love and belonging to something. To be a good and gentle person, you have to put up a little bit of armor, but that armor never works, because you’re so caring and sensitive and vulnerable that your heart is going to be displayed on that armor anyway. There are so many thoughts and feelings in my head that I just opened up and let it go so I could explore the duality of having to defend and protect what’s inside, and at the same time make it available for the world.”

Ideas flow throughout this record both musically and thematically, the vulnerability and uncertainty of Cruz’s lyrics lying in stark contrast to the fierce, pummeling nature of its songs. That juxtaposition has always been present in Strung Out’s songs, but for this record, that push-and-pull has become the central basis and focus as his heart and thoughts struggle to make sense of the chaos of the world at large. That’s not to say this album has the answers, but in analyzing everything, it offers the listener – and Cruz himself – the various contradictory paths of life that, hopefully, can lead to some kind of truth or understanding.

All those thoughts and feelings swirl together on this record as Cruz – who refers to himself and his vulnerability as the “flesh in the machine” – tries to find some sort of resolution. “Daggers” tells a story of personal turmoil within the backdrop of an increasingly dystopian America, while the grief and sadness contained with “Monuments” is offset by the pulsating, defiant frenzy of the song’s tune. “Disappearing City” blends a raucous energy with a sense of resignation but – importantly – not defeat, “Under The Western Sky” brims with Strung Out’s trademark sense of melody and coruscating aggression, and the insistent ebb and flow of album closer “Bloody Knuckles” is ravaged with both despair and a kind of beauty at the same time. The end result is simply Cruz continuing to live out his destiny the only way he knows how.

“This opportunity I’ve been given, and everything I’ve been doing, I don’t have any say in it,” Cruz says. “I don’t have a choice. I have things inside of me that swell up when I go through this, but it’s what people put into what they hear and what they then take out of it, that’s the magic. I need to do this, but if it’s not making a connection, I have no right to be here. My favorite part about America is the pain of the poor people and what they create out of it – the culture that the poorest people of this country have created. From that came blues, jazz, rock’n’roll, and, to me, coming from nothing and creating something is everything to me.”

image

Track Listing

  1. Rebels and Saints
  2. Daggers
  3. Ulysses
  4. Under The Western Sky
  5. Monuments
  6. White Girls
  7. Demons
  8. Hammer Down
  9. Disappearing City
  10. Politics of Sleep
  11. Diamonds and Gold
  12. Strange Notes
  13. Bloody Knuckles
Jason Tate
Jason Tate Jason Tate is the founder and editor-in-chief of chorus.fm. He can also be found at @jason_tate on Twitter and on Facebook.