Album Review by EDF
With a growing interest of groups from the 70’s and 80’s producing a number of reunions of late, one group that have had a never say die attitude has been The Stranglers. With more original members than Oasis, the main core of the group are JJ Burnel on bass, Dave Greenfield on keyboards and drummer Jet Black, who have been performing for close to 30 years. Despite their age, they sound like a group who have no plans to slow down anytime soon. Like most bands from yesteryear, they have a lot to offer to modern music fans as to why they should be noticed.
Sounding regenerated, even with the two newer members, vocalist Paul Roberts, who has been with the band for 12 years and sounds at home with his Hugh Cornwall-like vocals. The title track and BIG THING COMING are typical Stranglers tracks with their trademark keyboard scales. LONG BLACK VEIL is slightly less in your face and is the first of an impress string of tracks. I’VE BEEN WILD starts off with Burnel’s crunching bass and progresses on to a loud crescendo.
DUTCH MOON is so jazzy that you kind of expect the rest of the album to be in the same mode. But as this is The Stranglers, LOST CONTROL reminds you of who you are listening to and Roberts’ snaring vocals bring you back to earth and hard. INTO THE FIRE musically sounds average and the lyrics are just complete throwaway. Yes folks, this is the worst track on the album, sounding more like a covers group trying to be like The Stranglers.
The atmospheric start to TUCKER’S GRAVE holds a lot of promise and clocking in at 6 minutes, the track is at least one minute too long. All of a sudden we are woken up with a start as we are whisked back to the late 70’s with I DON’T AGREE, sounding like a cast off from the group’s early days. This makes way for the other jazzy track, the French/English SANFTE KUSS whose main highlight is Baz Warne’s fantastic guitar playing. The final track MINE ALL MINE is the sort of track that proves that the group can still write a commercial track if they wanted to.
The Strangers can still produce an above average enjoyable rocking album that does not show off their age at all. In comparison, they make their younger counterparts sound dull and dreary. With an upcoming tour, there is no stopping the original men in black.