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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Final Word, 30 Aug 2008
By 
Schnorbitz (West Midlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Black And White (Audio CD)
With reference the negative review of this marvellous album I would just like to share an abiding memory of my youth. John Peel on his legendary show announcing that he had in his hands a copy of the new Stranglers Album Black and White. I clearly remembering him saying that he wanted to pick a track to play. But when he listened to it to choose one every track was so good that he couldn't choose. So he played the whole album, every track, back to back, without an interruption. The last word goes to John, I think.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black and White doesn't make grey..., 1 Nov 2001
By A Customer
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This review is from: Black And White (Audio CD)
The faces and poses on the cover say it all - the band that was beginning to drive themselves harder instead of falling apart. The music didn't suffer, it just became both more aggressive and more subtle (Up and Down?).
After the previous two albums this was a bit of a shocker. Suddenly the songwriting has taken on a new angle. There's the pseudo-reggae of 'Nice and Sleazy', the jaunty epic 'Toiler on the Sea', the dark and growling 'In the Shadows' and an up and down, black and white goodie bag of Stranglers classics.
From 'Rattus Norvegicus' to 'The Raven' they just didn't seem to be able to put a foot wrong. Rarely have 4 musicians fitted together like the perfect jigsaw that is the Stranglers.
The bonus tracks include the brilliant reworking of 'Walk on By' and an amazing 'Old Codger' with jazz officionado George Melly on vocals. The only thing this album lacks is the kitchen sink!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is it true what they say? They turn the day into night...?, 13 Jan 2000
This review is from: Black and White (Audio CD)
The Stranglers produced three albums in quick succession. 'Rattus Norvegicus', their first, was liked by much of the music media in 1977, while a few short months later saw the release of 'No More Heroes' - an album that was less favourably reviewed, but which, at the same time, led to The Stranglers charting with several of its tracks. Then, in 1978 came 'Black and White'. While the feel of the album was undeniably 'Strangleresque', the power of J.J.Burnell's bass guitar, the subtle weaving of Dave Greenfield's synth, the merciless pounding of Jet Black's drums and the distorted, overdriven - yet somehow 'controlled' lead guitar of Hugh Cornwell had become almost a single entity. The result, as heard on 'Black and White' is a set of superbly crafted songs (ignoring the free tracks 4 and 14 which don't belong on the original recording) which range from the subtle melodies of 'Outside Tokyo', and the positively restrained, yet still thrusting 'Nice 'n' Sleazy' - through the powerful assault of 'Tank', 'Sweden', 'Hey!' and 'Curfew' - those were the main 'White' parts of the album. Once again, as per The Stranglers trade-mark, bass guitar and drums form a superb pair of lead instruments, and Hugh Cornwell maintains the 'glue' of the group with his attacking lead guitar - somewhat less manic than Hugh's previous guitar playing, yet managing to give the whole proceedings even more 'drive' (if that's possible). Their rendition of 'Walk On By' (another 'bonus' track originally given away as a white vinyl 7" single with the album - all those years ago) is again typically re-created to suit their mood, with 'choppy' lead guiter, thudding bass and roller-coaster synth work. Tracks like: 'Threatened', 'Enough Time' and 'In The Shadows' are unquestionably the heart of the 'black' side of this CD, with discordant lyrics (some more spoken or chanted rather than sung) and straining harmonies. Yet everything falls into place - even the bit of morse code that appears on 'enough time'. A fabulous album of grown-up punk tunes. Gone are the jokey lyrics of 'Rattus Norvegicus', gone are the swear words - calculated to grab the headlines from 'No More Heroes' and in their place The Stranglers delivered the chills, thrills and strangeness of 'Black and White'.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black and blacker, 22 Oct 2007
By 
D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black And White (Audio CD)
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Freedom's a chain, 28 July 2009
This review is from: Black And White (MP3 Download)
I've always loved this album, ever since it came out in 1978. Great collection of songs. Admittedly it could have done without "In The Shadows" (already released so a bit of a con) and "Enough Time" can drag a bit when you're sober, but for me there is nothing to touch one track - "Curfew" still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck 30+ years later. The time signature changes, the incredible mini-moog riff during the verses, Greenfield and Cornwell's harmony sung choruses in total contrast to Burnel's screamed statements and the final crashing, clanging four chords, the heaviest they ever got, even more than the previous year's "5 Minutes" and that's saying something. Buy it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Die like Cherry Blossom..., 15 Nov 2008
By 
uncle barbar (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Black And White (Audio CD)
Fabulous album from 1978!

Ah... I remember when this album came out - bought it with the free EP and played it to death. That September (16th 1978) I went to see the Stranglers at my very first gig at Battersea Park.

This album has stood the test of time. I still love almost all of these tracks.

And Good value cos it includes the extra EP tracks (Old Codger, Mean to Me and Tits) but also Sweden in Swedish and Shut Up (b-side) of 5 minutes.

Also, this cd is remastered and is excellent quality! Buy it - you know you want to!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Stranglers album???? ...... probably, 10 July 2006
By 
Mike J. Wheeler (Kingswinford, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black And White (Audio CD)
I first bought this album on old fashioned vinyl when it first came out in 1978. In fact it was the first album I ever bought, so it holds a great deal of nostalgia for me. Listening to this album many years later it remains one of my favourites. It has not aged a day!! When it first came out the reaction was a little awkward, as many buyers of this album were already familiar with the previous 2 albums (Rattus and No More Heroes), both of which had their punky moments even if The Stranglers were never really punk! Black and White is a different kettle of fish altogether. There are no really punk tracks on this at all. The album is very dark - not a hint of lightness on here at all. BUT ... musically this is The Stranglers at their best. the bass playing of Burnel and the keyboard riffs of Dave Greenfield never really hit the same heights again consistently on the same album. Of all the original tracks the only weak one is "Hey - Rise of the Robots". Everything else is perfect. Particular highlights include the opening track "Tank", "Toiler on the Sea" (my favourite), "Curfew" and "Death and Night and Blood". The re-release has the added bonus of including the single "Walk on By" - a minor hit in its day but actually probably one of the best cover versions ever attempted in the history of rock music. Buy this album - you'll not regret it. (9/10)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not enough Time, 31 Aug 2010
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Black And White (Audio CD)
Mesmeric album still producing a solid punch into the midriff way into the 21stC with non exotic mixes of paranoia, sex, sleaze, philosophy, brutal maledom and a caustic sense of doused humour.

The Stranglers third and difficult album saw them shoot their artistic load high into the sky as a good punk should. Never deemed part of the punk rock cannon, they were too old, odd, antagonistic, mysogonist.

A collection of crafted brutality, missing the ever more bruising 5 minutes, a sonic glass shatterer in the damaged maledom mode of getting up close.

Burnel had his bass playing the lead, tickling the ribs, Greenfield rippling the mindwaves,Black banging his soles whilst Cornwell piles on the blood pressure. An outburst of cynicism bathed in anger.

Philosophy; the invention of Time a pull from Heidegger for Outside Tokyo,Threatened follows in a more sinister vibe. Death and Night and Blood brings Yukio Mishima to a young mind. Japan appears as somewhere bizarre for the first time. Tank, the muscles ripple to the vibrations on the mirror shades as the 19 year old puts it into a first gear and blasts the greatest road song ever into the night fields. Toiler on the Sea; 60's mindwarp for punk infested children, Dave Greenfield lets loose with weird analogue blasts. Walk on By a song to play to mum or dad showing the links to saccharine taste...oooo take that off...The Stranglers take away the heart ache of Dionne Warwick, strip the wistfulness and make it into a one finger salute to the ex girlfriend; punk rock love breaks.

Sleaze comes in the form of the sex fest, Nice and Sleazy - a juicy piece of music even now, a good enough to strip to byin the privacy of the bedroom along with the beast that lives within - In the Shadows.

Enough Time still ticks in the head especially when running for something always pulling out ahead.

Curfew and Sweden are cold war songs distilling the paranoia and ennui of the ice age. Life in the UK speeded up as the rest of Europe drifted into boredom. Perhaps why it existed first in the UK before it become a new European folk music.

The Stranglers placed a tourniquet around the 1970's with the cry that Something Better Change, hope beyond all reason it fractured the staid platform flares and feather cuts of the 70's replacing it all with short hair, DM's and straights, then out of the chaos everyone tumbled.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ATTRACTIVE OPPOSITES, 24 May 2007
By 
Kelvin J. Dickinson (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black And White (Audio CD)
After the disappointment of NO MORE HEROES (see unpopular review), BLACK AND WHITE comes across as a sharp poke in the eye and a firm boot up the arse. Demure it most certainly is not.

In LP form the concept made more sense: two contrasting musical dispositions on two sides of vinyl. As a cd, this stark duality becomes slightly diluted by the addition of bonus tracks. Nevertheless, it remains a superb piece of work. The same goes for the cover. It's a powerful reminder of how effective photographic media can be at it's most basic: overexposed negatives of four figures posing in a void, opaque and unreadable. The end result is both iconic and memorable.

It is perhaps a tad petty to point out that side one does not, in fact, equate to 'Black' as you might naturally expect. However, any such inconsequential musings are immediately blown away the moment TANK blasts through the speakers. Heavy, driving, almost grungy, the song never lets up and is a marvellous taster for things to come. The pseudo-reggaefied NICE AND SLEAZY is next up, keeping things light and energetic (and, of course, sleazy) but then the pace drops unexpectedly for OUTSIDE TOKYO, a waltz, complete with de-rigeur flat Cornwell vocal. Given a sharper edge, this gloomy song would not seem out of place on, y'know, the 'other' side...the darkside.

Hey, hey, whaddya say?...RISE OF THE ROBOTS almost speeds out of control with to and fro vocals battling jazzy sax and keyboards over ownership of the metronome. In sharp contrast, SWEDEN (ALL QUIET ON THE EASTERN FRONT), is a more focused and streamlined affair, even finding room in it's anti-tourist board sentiments for the words "cumulus nimbus" (a cute latin reference to clouds. Nice touch, Hugh). Honours for outstanding track, however, must go to TOILER ON THE SEA, a thumping epic which shows THE STRANGLERS at their knuckle-dusting best and brings the 'White' side to a close on a bloody big high.

Of course, every yin needs its yang, every Jeckyll his Hyde, every Cannon his, or its, Ball. And the 'Black' side (un)happily obliges in every department. Sometimes discordant, other times just plain disturbing, the mood swing is dramatic, almost bi-polar. CURFEW, THREATENED, IN THE SHADOWS...angry, brooding pieces of work challenging you to sing along, if you dare. The unpleasant DO YOU WANNA segues neatly into DEATH AND NIGHT AND BLOOD, another intense Burnel number which picks up the pace until we reach the final song, ENOUGH TIME. And by this time, believe me, it's time enough; a big, clanging bassline intro and the death-knell of repetitive keyboard and vocals makes for an unsettling descent into hell.

Fortunately, on this occasion, being seduced by the darkside comes with a return ticket.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars blast from the past, 3 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Black And White (Audio CD)
i recently found this LP in my loft when i moved house. the LP was so warped that i couldn't play it properly, so i bought this and have enjoyed reminiscing. it was well packaged and arrived promptly with no problems
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