In under two years, (18 months) The Stranglers released their first 3 studio albums. What bands have that kind of output these days? (Grumbles).
The Stranglers were almost getting stronger with every album up to The Raven (note No More Heroes is not that strong) which I rate as their best album.
1978’s Black And White is a great record for many reasons. The sleeve, for a start is minimalist brilliance. The music, pushed things forward, which is always a good thing.
Tank is charged with driven power. Those raining keyboards showering over a very solid overall sound.
Nice N’ Sleazy is just that. A lesson in how to work a high-hat. The vocal is so clear, yet sounds totally disinterested. Searing, stereo keys soar briefly all over. It’s one of the bands best ever songs – simple as that.
Outside Tokyo is just damn charming. Soft. Almost sounding like a Nintendo game soundtrack somehow.
Sweden is a short stab. I’m not sure if it’s affectionate or angry. Either way its a great album track.
Hey! Rise Of The Robots is faster. Almost punk rap constant vocals over the dipping and rising sound.
Toiler On The Sea goes back to a classic Stranglers sound. Swirling keyboards. Phat bass. A catchy hook that ambles all over the place. “A Flock Of Seagulls…”
Curfew hints at New Wave before delving into quite a dark place.
Do You Wanna / Death And Night And Blood is more abstract. The track bleeds into its 2nd part and The Stranglers almost deliver a chant along “Home is a black leather jacket fitting sweetly to my brain” is possibly one of the best lines in any song ever.
In The Shadows was originally the B-Side to the single No More Heroes. This is no cop-out though. It, again, is one of the bands best ever tracks. Electronica almost, and that lower than low bass. Sublime.
Enough Time is the last track on the original album, although the LP has been packaged in many ways, including the initial 7 inch freebie. The song is bleak but the deadpan lyrics and high note keyboards somehow elevate it.
Not the bands best album, but certainly within the best 3 LP’s they ever would release…