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Totem And Taboo

4.7 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (10 Sept. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: The Cadiz Recording Co.
  • ASIN: B008L1H11Q
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,498 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

CD Description

" This was the last song I wrote for the album, says Cornwell about the title track Totem And Taboo. It s become one of my favourites. A hint of Rebel Rebel with some Marc Bolan glam thrown in. I ve always liked songs with marching 4 s on the snare, and that s what it is supposed to be, a rallying call for like-minded souls.

Cornwell was the original guitarist, singer, and main songwriter of the British punk rock band The Stranglers. He s enjoyed massive UK and European success with 10 hit albums and 21 Top Forty hit singles including Peaches, No More Heroes, Golden Brown, Always the Sun, (Get A) Grip (On Yourself), Nice N Sleazy, Duchess and No Mercy.

A nationwide October UK tour will see Cornwell perform the Totem And Taboo album in its entirety, followed by The Stranglers seminal 1977 album No More Heroes, also performed in its entirety."

Review

Thanks to a gloriously raw and vibrant sound, courtesy of the ever-reliable Steve Albini, Cornwell's endearingly sardonic observations on freedom, comsumerism and Madonna Louise Ciccone crackle with energy...he sounds more engaged and intense than he has in years. It ends with the menacing sprawl of In The Dead Of Night, Cornwell's finest and most unashamedly epic moment since the punk era. --Dom Lawson, Classic Rock, September 2012

Cornwell...continues to produce compelling, individual work. Totem and Taboo (the title references a collection of essays by Sigmund Freud) was produced by Steve Albini, who has worked with everyone from Nirvana to The Stooges, and the result, over these 10 songs, is a record that has some of the propulsive, gritty energy of early Stranglers, driven by Chris Bell's drumming and Steve Fishman's driving bass work. --Russell Leadbetter, The Herald, September 5th 2012

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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As a life long Stranglers fan I refused to listen to Hugh's solo stuff until a couple of years back and now I have his full catalogue. I liked this album instantly, he has shoved in a few licks of' 'psychedelic' lead guitar and the back drop rattles along at a fair pace too on a few tracks, Song 3 is brilliant! 'Window Shopping' - It is a classic example of his clever and witty writing skills. It is simple but it brings a smile to my face as does Bad Vibrations. He has made a play on the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations (I think) But why does the final track Dead of Night have to last 9 and a half minutes? There are only two songs I know of that last as long (Green Day classics)and they wrk because they are full of variety. Dead of Nightt just trundles along. Four minutes would have sufficed on that one Shuggie! Never the less a very good album.
PG
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Totem and Taboo (a title lifted from Sigmund Freud) is Hugh Cornwell's latest solo album, and finds the man a little introspective and autobiographical and still penning some classic rock tunes.

The opening track, "Totem and Taboo", is belting opener with Hugh's characteristic electric guitar technique and vocal delivery, relatively sparse production and arrangement (the current band incarnation is only bass and drums). Social criticism is never far away, with America the target in "Gods Guns and Gays"; "Stuck in Daily Mail Land" sticks it to Daily Mail readers (never his favourite newspaper); "I Want One of Those" goes for consumerism, and perhaps a gentle ribbing for religious types in "God is a Woman". "A Street Called Carroll" mixes film noir and personal experience in one of Los Angeles' oldest suburbs, all to a classic Stranglers-style drum/bass backing. The closer, "In the Dead of Night" surely deserves to accompany a Quentin Tarantino movie?

A vibrant, toe-tapping album, and his best for some time. Totally recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
Give or take a few filler tracks from various solo + Stranglers albums I like everything Hugh Cornwell has ever released. Not 'just another artist' - one of the finest songwriters of the last 35 years. High praise indeed.

Unlike some of his contemporaries Hugh has dabbled in many styles during his career many of which have gone unnoticed due to a fairly low key solo profile resulting in poor record sales in comparison to the major league success he enjoyed as frontman of The Stranglers.

The title of my review may sound slighly melodramatic but as collective body of work I have to say Totem & Taboo is overall the best thing Hugh's produced since the La Folie album. It's a shame that the likes of Hi Fi (a rather good quirky set of psychedelia inspired pop) & Beyond Elysian Fields (equally strong acoustic based MOR) failed to make any waves commercially, whilst their rich textures glowed and shimmered Totem & Taboo on the other hand just charges at you - if Hugh doesn't have your attention with this album then frankly you're listening to the wrong artist!

It would be fallacious to suggest his previous albums suffered from a lack of cohesion or appeared disjointed but there's a real unity and sense of direction on Totem & Taboo - Hugh is right on the money from the first few bars. The title track is full of urgency almost verging on boisterous and would make an excellent single if Hugh had the clout of say Weller or Morrissey.

Sticking with the T&T theme there's a great contrast in 'The Face' with the vocals coming across as detached from the music, this works a treat. We're then back up a gear with the quite brilliant 'I Want One Of Those' an amusing look at consumerism in which Hugh delivers one of if not his most accomplished guitar solo to date.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This will be the album that brings in the Stranglers' fans. No keyboards weighing things down. This is a tight power trio. The guitar work is creative and intense. The overall sound is clean and in your face. Hugh's voice has never sounded stronger. Steve and Chris's rhythm section holds it all together.
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A great progression from Hooverdam with better production and more importantly much much better songs.

Unlike most previous Hugh albums there really isn't a duff track on this short and very sweet album - 10 cracking tracks with Hugh really rockin' out on a couple of them. Like all great albums it takes about 3 listens before its brilliance hits you.

And we also get an epic Richard Hawley type closer clocking in at almost 10 minutes, the chorus of which could be the long lost relation of the Stranglers' Too Precious from their 1986 album Dreamtime.

Great return to form from Hugh.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sometimes albums just work, coming together as greater than the sum of the parts. This one certainly comes up trumps, with all the elements gelling into a sonically sublime musical feast. The clarity of sound marks this out as one of Hugh Cornwell's finest albums. Everything is clear as a bell, so you can hear everything that is going on, as well as appreciate the collective performance. The songs are all really good, some hitting me immediately and other growers keeping me interested. I've been listening non stop to this album in the car since I got it. Every word is audible, and with lyrics as clever and thought provoking as these, no lyric sheet is required. Hugh uses his life experience to come up with cracking lines about all sorts of subjects. It's fun trying to work out the meanings behind his one liners. The guitar sound is superb, with some fine sustained, twangy Telecaster notes and quirky solos. Drum and bass sounds are also captured really well - no kitchen sink thrown in here, just fine bass runs and resonant drum and percussion noises. Hugh's voice has always been unique and enjoyable to listen to, and his vocal chords are obviously maturing nicely. All in all, a fantastic album that I will be playing a lot more in the future. Get it!
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