Although The Stranglers were famously recognised later on for the song about Heroin, Golden Brown, this is also as important musically. The group was led by vocalist Hugh Cornwell. Released back in 1977, this was often seen as a Punk music release, although The Stranglers themselves often debate whether this was in such a category. Regardless, this is seen as a classic album, which makes perfect sense to observe audibly. Let’s do so now and hear where this takes us.
Sometimes begins this release with some Punk like energy and keyboards. It has an undeniably catchy groove to this piece and sounds as though The Stranglers were directly inspired by trends of the time. This is undoubtedly unusual sounding but sounds youthful, punchy and aggressive. The singing is more textural than melodic, and the keyboards point ahead to New Wave and similar forms of music. There are some Fender sounding guitar solos that are bittersweet and excellent. The playing here sounds deliberately discordant and different, and the whole thing sounds unique. An excellent start to this record, although it is inspired by many strains of music from the 1970s. It sounds fairly consistent and well thought out, however. A really cool tune, it is the 1970s equivalent to Chiptune, but in a super aggressive way. The dual keyboard textures point ahead to Van Halen’s keyboard experiments, which is interesting. A good and decent start to the album. It ends with clanging basslines, nice work.
Goodbye Toulouse is a short piece at three minutes long, with a super strange keyboard intro, a clanging bassline and fiery guitars. A really great listen, this sounds interesting and inspiring, with a chanted chorus. This release definitely sounds angry but is musically variable and consistent regardless. If this is considered to be Punk Rock per se, it is a very wonderful and musically accomplished effort by The Stranglers. The pounding organ is something akin to Psychedelic Rock, not Punk, ironically. A nice listen, all the same, this is wonderfully delivered and articulate music. A really neat piece of music, it is catchy and groovy, especially towards the end. Some strange sounds end this one, but great music nonetheless.
London Lady begins with a nice guitar riff, clanging bass guitar and a great sense of musicianship. Rolling drums are present, too. Soon enough, semi-shouted/screamed vocals enter that are surprisingly refreshing. More than most Punk musicians out there, The Stranglers had musicianship and finesse that many could not even dare to match. A really cool and energetic piece of music, this does sound instantly great upon listening. Towards the end is a blistering guitar solo that needs to be heard. Great song.
Princess Of The Streets begins with some cool bass guitar playing that is very melodic. Keyboards seep in, along with some laidback electric guitar. This is the Punk equivalent of a love ballad but sounds original and decent regardless. It looks back to bands such as The Velvet Underground in taking inspiration from their subject matter and reinterpreting it for the late 1970s. Quite beautiful in its own way, but full of subject matter that would still shock many today, this is a deep and interesting listen. Great all the same, this is melodrama set for the Punk generation. Great suspense and heartbreak lyrically, set to a perfect musical backdrop. A nice listen from start to finish, this is awesome listening.
Hanging Around begins with a hi-hat intro, intermittent keyboards and a nice band led groove. It comes across as quite funky, which is different. Obviously inspired by contemporaries such as The Clash, The Sex Pistols and The Damned, this is quite good listening. It is full of aggression, energy and interesting sounds that sound proficient. A really great and inspiring listen for those who were around at the time, this socially aware song takes everything that Rock music had done prior to this release and shapes it into a great song. The keyboard and guitar solos intertwine here for maximum effect. Really cool tune, this sounds as fresh and amazing as new music should be. A great listen for a mind-blowingly great album, this must be heard and enjoyed to the full. Decent song.
Peaches is the biggest hit from the album. It begins with a catchy bass guitar riff, keyboards and guitar parts that intertwine with these melodies. A cool and interesting tune about male sexual lust, this is completely different to the Justin Bieber hit of the same name released in 2021. A really great and explorational piece of music, this does have a very 1970s feel to it. A fine-tune with a twist of humour in it, this is a must-hear for the horny, young men out there to express themselves. Great keyboard solos are here, and this is a very catchy tune that deserves many repeat listens. Silly, yet fun, this is a great listen. Enjoyable from start to finish.
(Get A) Grip (On Yourself) begins with some basic keyboards, rumbling rhythm sections and a quickly strummed electric guitar. The singing and keyboards make this one worth it, and it also has some saxophone in the background. This is a direct Punk inspired statement that sounds really excellent, and it just hits the spot when needed. A really cool piece that almost has Progressive Rock musicianship about it, this is undoubtedly great, as is the rest of the album. Soothing harmonies in the background are in the midsection before the straightforward singing recommences. The chorus is very direct, and the musical textures present are amazing. A really cool piece of music, this deserves to be heard. Good song. The outro is sublime.
Ugly begins with a drum roll, clanging bassline and retro 1960s organ. It is a good tune that is well thought out, not just simply a Punk based jam. The articulate nature and professionalism of this song is a really great way to observe this piece. It is so well constructed that one could mistake this for being made by Pink Floyd, although it clearly is different from their music. Embracing their aggression, The Stranglers do very well here. A fine and profane laden piece, this does sound very fantastic. The lyrics present are really interesting, and this album does demand repeat listens. Great job. The song is very catchy from start to finish and is definitely worth your time. Nice effort.
Down In The Sewer: a. Falling; b. Down In The Sewer; c. Trying To Get Out Again; d. Rats Rally is a medley piece, as you can tell. It is also by far the longest track on this album to conclude with at nearly eight minutes long. It begins with some weird guitar licks, keyboard and great textures, with a little bit of screaming vocally as well. This is an interesting piece from the start, it sounds rather proto-Dead Kennedys in a way. A really cool and interesting piece of instrumental music, for the most part, this changes and flows nicely. The keyboard on this is sensational. Soon enough, one hears singing about being trapped in the sewer system, out of all bizarre scenarios one can think of. A really interesting and unusual piece of music, this sounds really much like the original versions of fairytales we were supposed to hear as children (with all the gory bits included), rather than what we can hear presently on this album. A keyboard solo that sounds a lot like Rick Wakeman is present here, as this piece evolves nicely. This never gets dull, not for a moment on this medley. Soon enough, a melodic guitar line emerges before this piece transforms into a great instrumental jam. In the second half are brilliant instrumental sections that power this song along, it really sounds genuinely great. Energetic, youthful and intelligent, The Stranglers deserve praise on this album. A great instrumental and song pastiche to finalise the album, this does sound really great. It speeds up towards the end with chaotic drum rolls, reaching a chaotic finish with the sounds of the said sewer. Brilliant.
This is, without a doubt, a really excellent 1970s Punk Rock album (if you really want to be genre-specific) that is intelligent, articulate, aggressive and above all, excellent listening. It does definitely deserve its classic album status and is an underrated release from 1977. If you want to hear music with attitude, this is a great release for you. Unfortunately, The Stranglers did not release as good material later on, but nonetheless, this should be listened to if you like anger and energy set to music. If you like this album, check out re-releases with extra goodies from The Stranglers as well.
Interesting and thoughtful aggression.