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Customer Review

23 of 24 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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Location: Norwich, United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 11,161,254