The Fall and Rise
Invisible Hands Music IHCD61
Strangler gets a Grip on his Peach of a Solo Career.
I absolutely loved the Stranglers first three albums. They appealed to me in a way that most other Punk records didn’t or couldn’t at that time in my life; probably because I was married with a baby and in a good job.
For me the Stranglers music was a lot more ‘grown up’ than anyone else at that given time; dealing with some odd subjects in an adult manner and not just the average 1-2-3 Angry, angry, shouty, shouty, which is probably why those albums have stood the test of time. In fairness my musical tastes did wander and I never bought any of their latter albums or anyone’s solo work.
Which brings us to this retrospective of Hugh Cornwell’s solo albums over the last 27 years. Yes, you read that correctly twenty seven years.
The album opens with the sparky Leave Me Alone from Hi-Fi (released in 2000) and reminded me a lot of mid period Graham Parker as it has a bit of a message over a rocky melody; making it easy on the ear.
A few tracks fall into the ‘interesting’ and ‘of their time’ category; such as the ones from Wired, Hot Cat on a Tin Roof which is light electronica not unlike Simple Minds (never my favourite band) and
First Bus to Babylon rocks along in a similar vein; absolutely nothing wrong with them all; just not what I would expect from one of Punk Rock’s most articulate songwriters.
For me the couple of stronger ‘stand out’ tracks are both sound slightly the Stranglers; which isn’t a surprise as their strongest tracks had Cornwell singing.
Slow Boat to Trowbridge (from Hooverdam) is quality English Indie Rock music in anyone’s book and both tracks from Beyond Elysian Fields, Under Her Spell and Cadiz are exactly what I want from Hugh Cornwell, thoughtful, intricate and fairly deep coupled with a tight melody. Obviously an album I should try to get hold of methinks.
For hardcore fans there is the added/obligatory bonus of a new rack – Live it and Breathe It. Possibly may favourte track here; channeling Squeeze through the Kinks Hugh Cornwell soundsas if he’s at peace with himself; but still has something to say; which bodes well for a new album and the tour that will accompany this release.
Released August 28th 2015