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4.7 out of 5 stars24
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 22 October 2012
This is a great album. Clever, witty and perceptive and showcasing Hugh's magnificent vocals. Not as angry or snarling as I like, but I guess it's not 1977 anymore and it's great nontheless! All of the songs are different but each one is more catchy than the previous one. I'm going to have to stop listening to this album as I can't get it out of my head (now I'm singing Kylie...)
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on 13 October 2012
This is a great album. The guitars are just brilliant, vibrant and in your face. The lack of keyboards in my opinion adds to the tightness of this particular trio. Hugh's vocals and lyrics are always a pleasure to hear, and he does it again with this collection of songs. Great stuff. keep it up Shug!
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on 30 August 2014
Artist & Co never fail to impress, a refreshing album that rocks.
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on 5 January 2015
brought this for my husband, He say's very good.
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I discovered this album, almost by accident. I'm a big fan of David Ford, who is supporting Hugh Cornwell on his current tour in the UK, so decided that, seeing as I rather like The Stranglers, would go and catch him on one of the dates. I had no idea what Hugh had been up to for years (the last album I'd heard anything from was 1997's "Guilty") and thought that it'd be best to check out his latest album so I'd know some of the material he was likely to perform. So, back in July, I ordered "Totem & Taboo" and was astonished to find out that, given a couple of plays, this album has become one of my firm favourites of the year - it's absolutely fantastic! I really the sound throughout the Steve Albini-produced album, it has a gritty rock feel to it, the riffs are brilliant, the lyrics superb... it's just one of the best, most honest, no-frills rock albums I've heard and, although I'm not conversant with all of Hugh's solo output, it's certainly the best things I've ever heard from him, his former band included.

My favourite tracks include "The Face" which is big, brash and downright catchy, as well as being quite amusing and, like many songs on this album, features a superb dirty guitar solo. "Stuck In Daily Mail Land" is a light-hearted rip on the reactionary right-wing rag, the delicious "Bad Vibrations" is held together by a rude, thundering bass guitar riff and "God Is A Woman" cheekily borrows the riff from Cream's "Badge", but it's such a good track that it's easily forgiveable. "A Street Called Carroll" boasts beautifully melodic vocals over a heavy rock backing which works brilliantly and the near-ten minute epic "In The Dead Of Night" ends the album with a flourish of creativity and ambition. It's not easy picking highlights, though; very nearly every track on "Totem and Taboo" is excellent and, for me, "Love Me Slender" is the only composition I'd consider to be a little ordinary. This remarkable album has given me a renewed and, in fact, greater appreciation of Hugh's work and talent and I'm sure this one will be listened to regularly for years to come.
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on 25 September 2012
What a great little album this is! If you're a Cornwell fan the sound is instantly recognisable, but for me this stands out as his best work since the Stranglers because I'm repeatedly playing it without skipping any track - all ten songs really are that good. Production is great, and the backing vocals from bass player Steve Fishman are very effective.
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on 16 December 2012
Great album,basic guitar,bass and drums but sounds fresh.Best solo album by far.Like any great album I've had it on repeat for the last month
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on 4 February 2013
i really loved this album. i recently got the stranglers album -giants - and was very dissapointed apart from a few great tracks - so this made up for it. in the dead of night is the best thing cornwell has done or the stranglers for that matter for donkeys years. i do hope before jet black shuffles off this mortal coil that a one off glastonbury performance might happen. that would be lovley.
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on 26 September 2012
Can I re-review this album without mentioning The Stranglers? Damn - just did.

Ok, that's now out the way.

It's important to me that this re-review is a good one for 2 reasons. One is because Hugh is my personal hero and I would love it if everyone that was on Amazon right now bought this album and that it stormed to the top of the charts and he could have another drink from that cup that he quaffed from so deeply in better days. The other is because, actually, all nonsense aside, Hugh Cornwell is one of the best song-writers in British music history and for God's sakes we should all remember that before he bloody well dies and everyone starts saying how great he WAS.

To the album.

Hugh has spent all his money, that much is apparent because he had to drum up the finance ro make this record from pledges from the HC faithful. Well, this was no great surprise to me because the last album, Hoover Dam, was perhaps the most horrible record I had heard ever. It had sounded like a bad jamming session. Now, those of you that are trolling Amazon may delight in me saying this because it verifies that Hugh should never have defected from The Stranglers. OK. But the albums BEFORE that - well Hi Fi, Beyond Elysian Fields and Guilty certainly - are some of the best you could hope to own. Hugh blew his ex-bandmates away with those 3 records. And so Hoover Dam was a monumental dip in hitherto amazing form.

This album...


It opens with the title track which sees Hugh almost seem to admit that quitting the Stranglers was, in terms of bad decisions, a bit like opting to take a wee on an electric fence whilst holding a big metal spike in lightning storm. He seems to be admitting that, yeah, it was pretty dumb. He cut his willy off to spite him bellybutton so to speak. Lesson learned.

Next is....a song about Madonna? Um.... What? Yeah apparently so. And although this should get most people excited, this is the absolute turkey of the album. A flat and bland song with a horribly flat and awful vocal. To add to this is - the WORST guitar solo of all time. Ok so Shuglet may not be any David Gilmour but for God's SAKES man. Did he REALLY hear this and think "yep - job done"?

Following this is a song about.....buying stuff. Um.... And it also has a painful guitar solo in which Hugh plays like he isn't hearing the rest of the song. And a chorus which is a total dirge...

Not going well is it?

Let's forget it shall we?

Oh wait....

Track 4 sees the album EXPLODE back into form. Trapped In Daily Mail Land is witty, sharp, lovely and drags you back into wanting to love this album. It reminds me of XTC and is Hugh on MEGA top form!

BAM! Here comes track 5 - Bad Vibrations and Hugh is rocking out big style. This will get you going. Awesome! And THANK YOU! But here is a solo befitting of the great man. This will get you air-guitaring big time!

Just when you thought it couldn't get better, track 6 God Is A woman will sit you down and make you realize that this is the same man that wrote all those songs you loved from the glory days. A truly wonderful classic. The only thing I don't like about this song is that most people won't hear it. It. Is. Brilliant. This is Hugh at his sexiest, his best and his most....Hugh!

Track 7 is Love Me Slender and bugger me if Hugh doesn't court some of that old controversy by basically saying that fat women are ugly. Whooooah! Easy now Hugh!!

Track 8 is the joint best track on the album with God is a Woman and it reminds anyone instantly that THIS MAN was the man that wrote all those songs from The Stranglers we all love. Listen to this and imagine a bit of Greenfield keyboards and it could easily have been a comeback Stranglers single.

Track 9 is Hugh at full throttle with his best vocal on the album on a song which is just brilliant.

It closes with In the Dead of Night which is a song which will divide the listeners. For me it's a bit of a let down after a glut in the middle of the album of truly great songs.

In essence, this album has some of the best songs Hugh has EVER written - but it is sullied with some bland tracks and some lifeless guitar and vocal work from Hugh. He could have done so much better. If he'd asked me I would have made an infinitely better album for him and I'd have done it for free. But hey - I offered in 2008 but he just thought I was a pissed Stranglers fan post-gig.

Would I recommend this album? Hell yeah. I've warned you that there are duds here - but when it works it is some of the best music you'll enjoy this lifetime.
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on 1 February 2014
was purchased as a gift and the recipient was delighted because he is a big fan and Amazon seem to keep up with his work
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