Black and White

Cover art for Black and White by The Stranglers
ArtistThe Stranglers
TypeAlbum
Released12 May 1978
RecordedFebruary-March 1978
RYM Rating3.68 / 5.0 from 1,427 ratings
Ranked#139 for 1978, #6,408 overall
GenresPost-Punk
New WavePunk Rock
Descriptorsenergetic, dark, male vocals, anxious, cold
LanguageEnglish

Track listing

Show track credits

  • A1Tank2:54
  • A2Nice ‘n Sleazy3:11
  • A3Outside Tokyo2:06
  • A4Sweden (All Quiet on the Eastern Front)2:47
  • A5Hey! (Rise of the Robots)2:13
  • A6Toiler on the Sea5:23
  • B1Curfew3:10
  • B2Threatened3:30
  • B3Do You Wanna?
  • B4Death and Night and Blood (Yukio)5:25
  • B5In the Shadows4:15
  • B6Enough Time4:16

ZephosJan 20 20214.00 starsOpinion seems generally of one mind that the Stranglers kinda dropped the ball a bit on this one. As for me I disagree, and yet I see what they see as well. But a term like „dropped the ball“ implies they fucked up something, where that really isn’t what happened here at all. Instead this is a case of the band expanding their sound, building on trends they already started. In essence they’re starting to leave their comfort zone, and as if often the case it makes for tough goings that don’t necessarily soar. But see that kind of drop in quality at least I can respect, and it is interesting to listen to. But anyway what do I mean by them „building on trends they already started“? Well in a way Black And White is an album that forces to the forefront things they’d always kind of had going on, but that were less noticeable before. Sure, No More Heroes did start really poking the keyboard work out, so that element isn’t out of nowhere. But they’re definitely leaning more and more on it as they go aren’t they? And it still sounds quite strange. I may have said this on the previous reviews? But their keyboard work sounds at once very 70’s (as in pre-77) while also like something leaning into the future keyboard sounds. Halfway between something vaguely proggy, and something kinda Zolo. This sort of sound is hard to reconcile in my head I admit, like I don’t really know what tone it wants to have. But I still appreciate the exploration at hand. Less obvious though? Well let’s just say if you didn’t exactly take note of their bass work before? You now sure as hell will, because it’s been pushed up and up and up. To the point that this sometimes makes for a sludgy sound, almost Grunge like at points? Metal (a sub-genre of rock I’ve damn near given up on, sorry?) has this sub-sub-genre called Doom Metal that emphasizes and prizes that kind of sludge guitar. So maybe this sometimes hits the Punk equivalent of that (mostly on side two)? Naw. But makes you think. Actually the more I think about it, they almost seem to appeal here to the sorts of things that would be popular in the early 90’s in the US. I already mentioned Grunge, but the bass guitar starts to remind me of stuff like Primus as well. Heavy riffage that doesn’t really fall under Metal or Punk comfortably. All this from a British band in 1978? Well I mean why not? So anyway, we have lots of sludgy bass guitar, and we have weird keyboard work that doesn’t really play into obvious flavorings. All that and they aren’t really pumping out obvious hooks at quite the same rate as last year. You can see why this keeps lots of people feeling a bit clammy. Including me I suppose. But maybe you can also see why I still like it a bunch. It’s a lovable cantankerous old dog with half an ear and a lot of attitude. And it really doesn’t sound a whole lot like other Punk type stuff from the time. A lack of hooks after all only covers that the songs are consistently engaging in other ways, whether the bass guitar is mining the depths of a muddy quarry, or they’re just plain being kind of strange. It almost embodies the band themselves in a way. A bunch of grumps that don’t care if you like them or not. Oh and just for kicks the album included a bonus single type thing with a cover of old R&B tune Walk On By (better known by me for being interpolated into Slick Rick’s Mona Lisa track). They outright turn it into a Ray Manzarek style Doors breakdown of a track, just for maximum „we do what we want“ points. Full discloser by the way, I started this review convinced I would give this a 3.5, and just by articulating my thoughts (and revisiting some tracks) it pushed my brain around and now its a 4. The world is a place.

Rating: 4
Highlights: Toiler on the Sea, Curfew, Death and Night and Blood (Yukio), Enough Time

corkieSep 15 20205.00 starsAll time favourite – an incredible album…I bought Black And White on cassette at the time and it was one of the earliest albums I ever bought and it is therefore incredibly personal to me.

This, the Stranglers third album, was somewhat of a departure from the their first two albums and featured epic tracks such as ‘Tank’ and ‘Toiler On The Sea’. ‘Black And White’ was the bridge between the classic first two albums and ‘The Raven’ their fourth album. On this album the amazing individuality of the musicians comes to the fore. Check out the bass lines and the keyboards – absolutely incredible.

The old side one of the album offers cinematic music of great creativity and brightness, whereas the old second side offers a more brooding darker side with tracks such as ‘In The Shadows’ and ‘Threatened’.

All in all this album continues to be one of my all time favourites. Not forgetting also that the classic cover single ‘Walk On By’ was recorded and released to coincide with this album!

Key Track: Toiler On The Sea

Turkey_BeardMay 09 20205.00 starsIf the first two Stranglers albums narrate the libertine pleasures of a grotty olde London, then Black & White sees the band switching into sci-fi mode. Gracefully menacing future rock for a dystopian world, this is one of the most truly absorbing punk rock long players ever made. An album of many moods, it ranges from the zaniness of ‘Hey!’ and ‘Sweden’ to the outright euphoria of ‘Toiler on the Sea’, its soaring intro being one of my very favourite moments in music. The slick shininess of the album’s sound unmistakably belies something darker beneath, however, and the tension of songs like ‘Curfew’, ‘Threatened’ and especially ‘Enough Time’ is utterly crushing. The band’s trademark style is perfected here – the guitar stabs away, the bass roars like some twisted metal leviathan, and the keyboards elevate us into another realm entirely. This is an album that demands to be played from start to finish, a work of sheer brilliance that will never cease to be thrilling.

R.I.P. Dave Greenfield.

WarthurSep 29 20183.50 starsBy Black and White The Stranglers’ original proto-post-punk sound with side cuts of pub rock was beginning to wear a little thin. Nice ‘n Sleazy is decent, but they’d gone through much dirtier territory on their first two albums, and on the whole it’s a bit of a poor cousin to No More Heroes, which was itself a poor cousin to Rattus Norvegicus. Fun and will raise a smile, but not the classic the first two were.

snow_over_mongoliaOct 01 20162.50 starsNever been a huge Stranglers fan. „The punk-rock band with the organ player who came from a prog-rock background and the Marxist french bass player who used to karate-kick unsavory journalists“.. Yeah, sounds interesting on paper, and they were certainly an odd collection of individuals, but they ended up recording some of the most diluted, mainstream-oriented New Wave records of the mid to late 1980’s.
Even their early stuff wasn’t so great, when all is said and done. Here they went for a more modern, updated sound (ie : Greenfield’s keyboard work is less cheesy and „Doorsy“ (inverted comas), going for a slightly futuristic/robotic early synthpop sound).. but as a collection of songs, it’s more patchy and frustrating than ever I’m afraid. Apart from a couple of good moments (opener „Tank“ is a great uptempo synth-punk number, and I quite like the „Do You Wanna/Death and Night and Blood“ meddley), most of these ditties feel sterile and poorly (under-)written after a couple of listens. Oh, and „Nice and Sleazy“ is the kind of poppy „white reggae“ song that led me to (mistakenly) believe that I didn’t like reggae for 20 odd years.
There is also something a bit „technophile“ to this album, which I don’t really like. The mastering sounds extremely loud for 1978 (which does work for Burnel’s bass, I guess..), and it’s all a bit clinical and „manufactured“ aggressive and loveless to my ears.
Still.. „Yes I can drive (DRIVE !) my very own tank !“

the_bearMar 20 20115.00 starsThis was the first album of theirs that I ever heard – on a school trip in 1978/9 when a classmate wanted to play a cassette of it on the tape player I’d brought along.
I was hooked from there as it sounded so different to anything I’d heard before. I knew their singles but hadn’t graduated to buying albums, so this was the second album I ever bought which started an obession that is still with me, so much so that these songs are in my DNA.
Great band captured just as they were breaking out of the punk wave that they’d initially surfed and were starting to experiment with each album they bought out.
Also has my favourite album cover of all time.
Key tracks: Nice ‘n’ Sleazy & Toiler On The Sea and also a mention for the fantastic cover of Walk On By that they’ve stuck on the CD release.

trevor_mehchineFeb 19 20114.00 starsProbably the best of their early work, Black and White benefits from a more innovative and experimental approach. More pertinently, it finally says fuck off to the band’s pub rock roots. That’s not to say this willingness to try out new approaches consistently succeeds, and there really isn’t any excuse for including the dull-as-ditch-water In the Shadows.

What *should* have happened is that Walk on By be included on side one after Outside Tokyo, In the Shadows ditched and Hey! (Rise of the Robots) put in its place. Of course, die-hards will say this would ruin the feel of the ‘black’ side (and argue that without the pub rock years, songs like Walk on By would never have come about in the first place). Better still, hide Hey! on the free white EP and kick the second side off with 5 Minutes – now that really would’ve improved Black and White. Curfew is a decent opener, though. I used to think JJ must have been reading Len Deighton’s 1978 novel SS-GB when he wrote the lyrics – but then I found out the book was published several months after Black and White’s release. I digress. The second side needs a little surgery. It’s where the worst failures reside – Do You Wanna only works because it segues so strangely and seamlessly into Death and Night and Blood (this bizarre transition is a high point of the album, actually). Otherwise it would just fucking suck.

Enough Time is filler – there’s no other word for it (apparently producer Martin Rushent loathed the track), and as such it hints at a long attenuation in the band’s quality control process that would run and run. Curfew and Threatened work – but it’s a close call at times. The latter is particularly in danger of being weird purely for the sake of it (Black and White’s Ugly, maybe).

Back in the land of the living – or side one if you prefer – it’s probably Nice ‘n’ Sleazy that steals it. Tank’s good too – the keyboards in particular. Those arpeggios are dazzling and Burnel turns in some good playing as well. There’re also some great moments in Sweden – the tempo change is brilliant and, again, the organ does some incredible things. Toiler on the Sea (a reference to Hugo’s novel Toilers of 1866) is a kind of re-write of LA Woman – at least at the intro, although the bass line does admittedly take it to another place entirely. I give this 3.5 without the free EP and 4 with. But with the revisions mentioned above it could well have been 4.5 stars. And how about this for a full ticket of 5 stars:

Tank
Nice ‘n’ Sleazy
Walk on By
Shut Up
Sweden
Toiler on the Sea

5 Minutes
Outside Tokyo
Curfew
Do You Wanna
Death and Night and Blood
Threatened

the_bearJan 08 20115.00 starsThis was the first album of theirs that I ever heard – on a school trip in 1978/9 when a classmate wanted to play a cassette of it on the tape player I’d brought along.
I was hooked from there as it sounded so different to anything I’d heard before. I knew their singles but hadn’t graduated to buying albums, so this was the second album I ever bought which started an obession that is still with me, so much so that these songs are in my DNA.
Great band captured just as they were breaking out of the punk wave that they’d initially surfed and were starting to experiment with each album they bought out.
Also has my favourite album cover of all time.
Key tracks: Nice ‘n’ Sleazy & Toiler On The Sea and also a mention for the fantastic cover of Walk On By that they’ve stuck on the CD release.

gottdammDec 24 20104.50 starsThe strings on J.J.Burnell’s bass sound like they were left out in the rain and snow to collect rust and then they stubble and corrode in your ear holes.Funny and cool at the same time.A lot of people HATED these guys back in the day which I guess made me like them even more.Plus the black and white vinyl disc with the swirls in it is the shizznit!

Babe_N_CoApr 06 20103.50 starsStreet Organ Magicians
At times it seems that Black and White is performed by some street musicians.The album is dominated by keyboard sound and Dave Greenfield pushes synthesizer keys like some crazed Keith Emerson so sometimes songs sound sung to the street organ. And The Stranglers merrily sing about the tank riders: “And when I come home they’ll have someone to be proud of cos I can drive my very own tank”, invention of time: “Somewhere outside Tokyo invented time, someone in a factory invented time”, upsurge of the robots: “They’re gonna want a union soon, oil break that’s dead on noon” and many other interesting and preposterous things so it’s like a circus show.

GrampusSep 29 20084.50 starsNine times out of ten if a band feels fit to give away a single with a newly released album it’s because said single is a casual throwaway. The Strangler’s version of „Walk On By“ is one hell of an exception. In 1978 any new Stranglers product was always at the top of my wants list. So, even though the single was a limited giveaway with the Black And White album, I was never worried that I might miss out.

This really shouldn’t work. It would be more understandable if a band like The Dickies had taken a Burt Bacharach standard played it at a thousand miles an hour in less than a minute and offered that up as fodder for the critics. We would have smiled at their audacity, laughed at their goofiness and filed it under novelty it being so far distant from, say, Dionne Warwick’s version to be considered any sort of threat. So when along comes a band from the boundaries of punk proposing to play the song for real you could hear the sound of cartridges being pushed into breaches as the music journalists loaded and cocked their shotguns.

There is a touch more speed involved but that is due to the superb bass and keyboard driven backing which springboards into an extended interlude that never outstays its welcome. That and Cornwell’s sneering, tuneless vocal makes this one of the best of cover versions.

trevor_mehchineMar 19 20085.00 starsWalk on By is, quite simply, one of the best pieces of pop music I’ve ever heard. Bone-crunching coil-spring bass guitar, deliciously fluid keyboard playing plus incredibly detailed and florid guitar work – what an inspired way to vandalise this renowned Bacarach song. Of course, the early-period Stranglers had to bring some unhealthy aggression to proceedings. Cornwell’s biting vocal is anything but heartbroken and the drums are pounded to pieces. In short, the band play their hearts out yet somehow manage to make everything sound pretty damn effortless. Rushent must’ve nearly died when he first heard the wonderfully elongated solo section coming back through the control-room monitors. The interplay between keyboards and lead guitar is absolutely phenomenal – both players fire off melodic phrases at each other as if their lives depended on it, sometimes harmonising together, or else calling and responding with alternating ascending and descending scales. If this sounds like a pair of virtuoso performances, that’s quite simply because it is. The solos then begin to resolve while the bass guitar and drums mesh into a heavy, driving build-up that sees the band surging into a final chorus. This really is a thundering, heart-melting classic and should be played as loud as possible on the hottest day of the year – every year – until the planet collapses in on itself.

troyscholesDec 21 20074.50 starsI owned a black and white tee shirt that had illuminous sides to each of the four strangler figures and it kind of lit up in the dark spooky discos of the late 1970s. Every time i looked at the cover of the B&W album i imagined Hugh lifting his head up to see what he actually looked like on the photoshoot. Guess i will never know.

B&W was the first to move away from the familiar sound of Rattus Norvegicus and No More Heroes. The obvious distancing being noticable for the fact that the earlier albums were recorded material having its genesis set pre 1976. Ideologically, B&W content was to be melodic polar opposites. A white side, new wave upbeat rock to contrast a black side, a more sinister and bleak soundscape. Natural musical progression and all gave the early buyers of the B&W album a free EP single. The Stranglerfied/Doorsesque flavoured Bacharach and David classic Walk On By delivered, in origin, by Dionne Warwick in 1965 had George Melly playing along with the Meninblack in this ditty. A point of interest is that the Walk On By cover version has roots in Hans Warmlings involvement with the Stranglers.

At the end of 77 the band went to Bear Shank Lodge Oundle Northamptonshire to write new songs. Some initial ideas for the B&W album pointed to the weather like continued snowfall in December. Nonetheless, the influence of the musical elements (the white side) supposed to have been Hugh’s collaborations and the black side JJs musicianship. But B&W did not turn out as it was planned. Jet Black’s interest in the MIB started around this time, an important turning point for the band to abstract curiosities. B&W has ingredients unlike the ingredients of earlier work; how the world ‘is’ for the Stranglers so to speak on Rattus Norevgicus. On an upper scale, the content of B&W reveals intellectual fascination of many subjects which set a preliminary framework for future projects like the MIB concept album.

Now for comments on each song!

Tank

A very fast synthesizer inspired song which is very difficult to play is ‘key’ to the sound of a song dedicated to power. In the form of military might a reckless soldier can maim and kill with his tank. The tank does not discrimate between friend or foe it just exterminates. A catchy ditty with a great drum roll in the introduction, which captures with fast musical rythmn the stupidity of war and the niavety of a fighters prerequisite belief of praise for war in far off lands which are soon forgotten by the general public.

Nice ‘n’ Sleazy

An attempt at white reggae that was better than the attempt made on Peaches according to JJ. What stands out is JJs baseline and the mistake made by producer Martin Rushent of plugging into the wrong socket thus creating a synthetic feedback that Dave Greenfield thought was marvelous in the synthesizer solo. It can be told that the Stranglers were at the height of shock tactics to cash in on the new wave with live strippers performing to Nice ‘N’ Sleazy. The cover of the record showed a dead woman that had apparently been strangled. A spoof of the Holy Bible by Hugh, in the lyrics of the last verse was to be the start of all future words concerning deities. His passion to be a diletante would continue in future albums.

Outside Tokyo

Waltzing along in perverted tones could be the prehistoric Golden Brown to some listeners. I cant agree with Hugh who has dismissed the white side and the black side concept, this little waltz should have been put on the black side. To Hugh’s childish imagination of time embarked on outside Tokyo, in a factory may represent Japan’s huge investment in microchip technology. With digital watches and the like going like hot cakes at this period of time in Nippon. Due to selling so many watches making a Japanese tiger economy, at the time of ‘sell out’ would be the end of economic Japan and so the end of time. This song can lead you to think about the content of the lyrics.

Sweden (all quiet on the Eastern front)

A piss take biopic of life in Sweden as Hugh the bottle washer is in a hospital next to Lund University being a dogs body in a laboratory while studying for research degree. ‘To much time to think to little to do’ Hugh declares in a cockney accent bored watching the clouds float on by. He has so much time on his hands he has time to watch interesting clouds like Cirrus and Cumulus Nimbus in the sky like pieces of cotton wool. Its all quiet on the Eastern front JJ and Dave uniting back up vocals at the end of the song can be put in context with a dull and dreary day at war with no action thank God! Great keyboard melody and a good consistent bass line by JJ with pauses between verses showing the maturity of the band.

Hey! the Rise of the Robots.

Versatran series F is coming to kill man kind. A Terminator type fantasy, with Hugh singing ‘their way out of get’ some strange misleading lyric to emphazise panic of the impending doom of human life. But apparently that lyric relates to robotic speech malfunction when not programming machines correctly. It is a continuation of death and destruction by once subservient robots influenced by authors such as Nostradamus and H.G.Wells. This is a fast filler with a lot of instrumentation including Lara Logic’s Saxaphone along with a cacophony of instrumentation that was difficult to mix.

Toiler on the Sea

A favourite played live an absolute stomper of a track brilliant to end side 1 of the white side. Hugh screeches ‘a flock of seagulls’ so good that 80s new romantic band admirers from Liverpool named their band after this great song. It was when Hugh was in his beloved Morocco and with the visual impact of snow capped Atlas mountains inspired the lyrics to Toiler On The Sea. A tale of love as the only surviver of a shipwreck he rebuilt the womanship to sail on a voyage back home to find his true love had married another man.

Curfew

The first track on the black side an anxious sounding keyboard and verse lyric sang by JJ. Beautiful keyboard melody accompanies a song about invasion. All the goverment figures have disappeared and the Army has gone to Scotland for a last gasp effort to fight the Germans. The last verse is a reference to the fractured existence of a Federal Germany after the Nazi’s were beaten. A trembling urgent bass line finishes Curfew and deathknell instruments combine to exclaim death. The end.

Threatened

A dim sounding JJ voice with the instruments coming in one at a time to produce a coordinated tuneful opening. It is a song about u turn to the egg because life is full of shocks and surprizes. Existence is alright back in the safety of the womb. Furthermore, Threatened relates to many bands trying to write their difficult 3rd album. On reflection to the song Ugly, JJ wanted to emphasize what being hideous is through what eyesight tells you. In the track Threatened JJ implies being ugly can be more than an unattractive image. A sign of a more mature viewpoint to what is or what not is considered to be beautiful.

Do You Wanna

Dave Greenfield is the sinister voice reiterating that jubilee is in fact a meaning for celebration. So to set the prisoners free is a somewhat anarchic and irresponsible thing to do. In fact the group is sticking up for all those forgotten souls. Very liberal. The Stranglers would in the future break the law, amongst other juridical incidents, Hugh would serve time at Pentonville Prison. The bass line is dark sounding and the complex guitar almost disappears in the production. My personal highlight of B&W is this song running into the next one. A crossfade truly brilliant musicianship and timing.

Death and Night and Blood (Yukio)

I thought Yukio at first was was reference to the title. Yuk. But it is an ode to fiction writer Yukio Mishima. JJ has a fascination for the homosexual writer along with his homosexual Samurai bodyguard. Yukio committed ritual suicide on air in 1970. Self Disembowlment with a sword to later be beheaded by his best friend to preserve beauty in death rather than dying with a contorted face is sacred to this tragic art form. Before death make up is applied. The Hagakure is the Samurai bible and the way of the Samurai is death. The Japanese outlawed this practice in 1945.

In The Shadows

A very sombre and creepy record with a fart like sounding simple bass line. I like the uplifting resonance of the drums and there is some interesting sounds made by the Moog synthesizer. In the Shadows is the b side of No More Heroes which gave the fan a glimpse of what was to come. With the theme of mysteriousness and the feeling of being watched the band were given freedom in the studio to go ‘carte blanche’, hence out of a jam In The Shadows was produced.

Enough Time

Thought this one would have been better musically on the white side of the album. On the other hand, Enough Time is good as an album closer. The lyric ‘have you got enough time’ endless repeating is filler plus the band were under pressure to complete another track. They had enough time but not enough time to improve the mix. The production of Hugh’s guitar is poor, it can hardly be heard. Nonetheless there is an interesting morse code message on this track when deciphered means something to do with apocalypse (i think).

I think the B&W album proves there is nothing black and white in this world but grey. For example, in a christian point of view, the heterosexual is white the homosexual is black and the bi sexual is a slightly blacker shade of grey. For a difficult third album i thought it was nearly a masterpiece but not quite as complete as Rattus Norvegicus. Enough time and the mix of Hey! could have been better.

Jet Black on the front cover of B&W was completely wankered from a drinking session the previous night his hair wanted a comb, laugh out loud. But his stare from the cover will be immortalized. Dave Greenfield’s hairy caterpillar between mouth and nose and B&W shoes is a give away for the 77-78 time period. Hugh could have had a rope round his neck on the photoshoot which may have improved on the original photo. JJ crouched down and wore a white sleeve to depict surgical removal of his right arm.

The subject matter on B&W is intelligent and due to these facts a move into post punk/new wave vanguard was inevitable. It may have estranged some fans from the Stranglers but not I indeed. Indeed not I.

james_jonesAug 30 20074.00 starsNot a bad disk, I remember being most impressed by these jokers back in 78,79. In fact they were my favourite band. Black and White essentially has a very good first side and starts to slip away a bit on side two. The bass grind and organ swirl all make up a very interesting concoction, although at times ‘The Stranglers’ seemed to walking on thin ice (ie crappy songs), by recording duds like ‘In the Shadows’ and ‘Do You Wanna’, the overall vision of this disk is pretty cool. ‘Curfew’ is hilarious about the government having to flee so Scotland, so there’s something Middle Aged, in terms of historical references which kind of make the band come out as closet intellectuals.

bagsmagMay 14 20075.00 starsTalk about influence!

In 1979, my mate lent me this. I listened and dismissed it.

A week later, I tried again. For some reason, a few tracks started to jump out at me.

This was the start of a love affair which would last 5 years.

Thunderous bass and keyboards that mesmerised.

Although the album ends on a bit of a bum note, the White side makes it a 5.

Threatened became my favourite track of all time.

And so it remains.

Axe_MeisterAug 29 20065.00 starsTheir best album with their debut coming in a close second. Nice sax work on „Rise of the Robots“ by Lora Logic, X-ray Spex’ saxophonist. A must have for any punk rockers… with taste, not that Oi crap. „Tank“, „Toiler On The Sea“ and „Sweden (All Quiet on the Western Front)“ are my personal favorites. This is pretty much a complete album with „Nice ‘n’ Sleazy“ and „Death and Night And Blood“ being interesting album filler, even if you listen to it because the playing is more interesting then the actual (written) song. Made when album’s needed to be a complete album, not just one hit song, side A, first song…. and then a bunch of crap. When I bought this record, the vinyl was black and white swirls, really cool.

someeggsMar 12 20055.00 stars_I can drive my very own tank_
Listening to this record today, the first song „Tank“ struck me as being some pseudo prophetic comment on the state of vehicle choices that the modern american public makes. Everyone’s got an SUV or a Hummer, and if they could drive a tank they would. Maybe they should join the army like the guy in the song. Then Mr. SUV can put their own life on the line to protect the oil. The oil that an SUV uses to much of. A fact that hardly anyone in the states seems to give a rats ass about.

Ah anyway as for the rest of this fantastic record I’ll just say it’s their most creative and strongest set of songs, and all on one great LP! Also it’s lite on the sexism they were so maligned for on the first two albums. Now that I’m here actually reading! – the lyrics. They don’t appear to be sexist at all. So please listen to this great art punk release guilt free.
This album and the next one _The Raven_ are The Stranglers at their creative peak.

Wait more lyrics _A flock of seagulls_.?

lulleDec 01 20044.50 starsThis is the first record where Stranglers doesn’t sound like The Stranglers. Whereas the first two records contained songs written over a long period, this one was made up from scratch.
Side1(think this side should be The White) is more or less traditional Stranglers. „Tank“, „Toiler On The Sea“, „Outside Tokyo“ & „Sweden“ could easily have been on their earlier records. Good songs, especially the first two. „Nice’n’Sleazy“ is the usual reggea flirt, but this time with a weird SpaceInvaders synth – great. „Hey! (Rise Of The Robots)“ is the most“punk“ here, with guest appearance from Lora Logic(sax).
Side2(The Black side, I guess) is weirder, darker & more disharmonic, it points the way to _The Raven_ & _TheMenInBlack_. It starts superb with „Curfew“, JJ sings(or shouts) the verses, Hugh sings the catchy chorus. The rest of the songs are great(with the exception of „In The Shadows“), but can take some time to get into. The bass playing is particularly great throughout the whole record.
And finally – Dave Greenfield’s vocal delivery on „Do You Wanna?“ is among the weirdest I’ve heard – a complete madman…

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