The production values are the same as on their first two albums, but on 'Black And White' The Stranglers shift from schoolboy sniggers and misanthropy toward serious issues. They retain their confrontational stance, as ever, but 'Sweden' marks a new target, the nation. The first, 'white,' side of the original LP links with previous recordings and is, for the most part, quite manic, laced with the usual thrilling keyboard runs. Only the reggae-slanted 'Nice 'n' Sleazy' and the short, sober 'Outside Tokyo' differ from this approach. 'Tank' is familiar fare, about a recruit who can't wait to go out and 'maim.' 'Sweden' and 'Toiler On The Sea' are relentless epics and the pacy, sax-ridden 'Hey!' portrays a future in which machines rule.
The second side is the jaw-dropper. Visions of Russian invasion, stalkers, bloodlust and apccalypse are new and frightening areas. Gone also is the infectious hit potential, replaced by JJ Burnel's nightmarish vocal delivery, and plainer, repetitive patterns. Bonus tracks are the usual mixture of comical throwaways that appeared on b-sides and the free EP that came with the LP, plus the superb, 6-minute hit cover of 'Walk On By,' which was also featured on the EP. 'Black And White' is a leap forward for an already formidable band, but it doesn't make easy listening.