As a band, the Stranglers have officially entered the world of the thirtysomethings.
As a band, the Stranglers have officially entered the world of the thirtysomethings. Founded in 1974, the Guildford Stranglers got down n' dirty on the pub scene to reflect the grey grit of 70s southeast England well before the punk era ever got up on its own, shaky feet.
'Norfolk Coast' offers 11 all-new tracks, the fruits of two years' studio work reflected in tight arrangements and thorough craftsmanship across the board. Here, the band carry on doing what they've been known to do best - namely good old rock'n'roll that, at times, sits grumblingly in a grey area fringed by vintage Smiths, mid-career Madness and, yes, The Shadows, and at other times powering down the open (American) country road, explicit and furious, crossing Zappaesque bridges (Into the Fire), and still betraying a general, lingering Doors'y (in-)sensibility they've known since the early days. And then suddenly Sanfte Kuss (Gentle Kiss), multilingual, continental café jazz of a high order, packs an unexpected soft slap about the face towards the end. !
Dave Greenfield's keyboard work acts as a glorious wormhole to the early 1980s, with JJ Burnel's hard, bass guitar rumble riding shotgun. These are strange times indeed, where even veteran rockers have still not seen fit to move on from the protestations of their youth (Lost Control). While Norfolk Coast gets off to a promising, vigorous start, notably through the title track, it is the slower Dutch Moon and Sanfte Kuss, tantalising, even other-worldly, and the dwelling Tucker's Grave that shine on a well crafted but lacklustre album and really bear testament to the Stranglers' musical prowess. ~ Joana Mateus5.