As the first song on Lenny Kravitz’s latest suggests, Strut is unabashedly about “Sex.” The funky album-opener’s driving beat and jangly guitar is a full-throttle introduction that awakens the senses. Two songs later, the carnal theme continues to play out in “Dirty White Boots,” and then the album’s title track, which features some slapping bass and deft guitar work, but Strut isn’t always hot ‘n’ heavy.
Laced between, Kravitz works in a little love and romance with soulful slow jams such as “The Pleasure and the Pain,” the multifaceted “Frankenstein” — which comes to life with harmonica and sax galvanizing the singer’s pleading “I need love” refrain — and the bluesy, building “She’s a Beast.”
This isn’t to say that Strut doesn’t occasionally miss the mark. “Happy Birthday” is, at best, an unnecessary throwaway better suited for singing to family members, and Kravitz’s cover of the Miracles’ “Ooo Baby Baby” feels like a last-minute selection to fill out the album with a 12th track.
Like his previous albums, Strut — the artist’s tenth release and the first on his indie label Roxie Records — carries a retro sound imbued with Kravitz’s signature spin. This time out, however, it’s less shades of ‘60s psychedelia and more a mix of ’70s grooves, from danceable disco (“The Chamber”) to sly funk ’n’ roll (“New York City”). Inconsistencies aside, Strut proves that Kravitz still has ample pep in his step.
- Album: Strut
- Artist: Lenny Kravitz
- Label: Roxie Records
- Songs: (1) Sex (2) The Chamber (3) Dirty White Boots (4) New York City (5) The Pleasure and the Pain (6) Strut (7) Frankenstein (8) She’s a Beast (9) I’m a Believer (10) Happy Birthday (11) I Never Want To Let You Down (12) Ooo Baby Baby