Totem And Taboo
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" 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."
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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hugh remains a genuine example of well observed barbs and cutting social comments wrapped up in toe tapping ditties and snarling riffs. A genuine English treasure.Published 12 months ago by john ryan
Great album , hugh corwell, like a vintage wine , improves with age , down to the basics hugh on guitar an vocals , an bass player an drummer.....simple but effective formula!! Read morePublished 15 months ago by sidsw6
This is a great album! Saw Hugh live recently and he covered most of the album. It's a must for any stranglers fan! It's well recommended.Published 19 months ago by john
Artist & Co never fail to impress, a refreshing album that rocks.Published 23 months ago by Mrs. T. M. Kavanagh
a big stranglers fan so this should have been a blessing...a real talented artist with a past but this is for me 50/50 good and fillerPublished on 2 April 2014 by Amazon Customer
was purchased as a gift and the recipient was delighted because he is a big fan and Amazon seem to keep up with his workPublished on 1 Feb. 2014 by Joanie
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... Read morePublished on 19 Nov. 2013 by Andy Sweeney
sounded poor at first listen and a few more, went o see him live and the album came to life., Well pleased nowPublished on 11 Mar. 2013 by Mr. Gordon Mackenzie