Many of the Stranglers’ singles have been British hits, notes the record company publicity bio, but the general public in America has reacted “in a more subtle manner.” That’s a slightly subtle way of saying that, a cult following aside, the group has gone over stateside like a lead balloon. Its last two albums, in fact, didn’t even see the light of day here.
It’s easy to see why, because the Stranglers’ brand of new wave isn’t exactly AM radio fare. At its most accessible, it sounds like a deranged cross between the Doors and Sex Pistols, and at times (e.g., “Meninblack”) it could even be mistaken for the work of the absurdly abstruse Residents.
Nevertheless, I’m happy to have this album, which combines UK singles and LP cuts with one new track and which comes with a limited-edition EP. The latter includes an extremely innovative variation on Cream’s classic “White Room” and, while the album may take some getting used to, it also evidences much depth and originality.