Song: The Raven
Band: The Stranglers
The Raven is from the English band’s fourth album of the same name, from 1979. The Stranglers began as brash, yobbish punkers firmly anchored by Jean-Jacques Burnel’s signature bass sound, but by the close of that tumultuous decade the band had begun to morph into a more sophisticated pop act referencing a wide variety of musical streams. The sound of that transition is in evidence here, yet the dependable Stranglers trademarks remain: that thick, gloriously chunky bass, the precise and economical guitar, lots of juicy keyboard riffs and fills (keyboardist Dave Greenfield’s massive contribution to the Stranglers sound is especially noteworthy, especially during the punk era when a keyboard player in the band seemed like a pretty left field idea.), the over-arching melodic strength and surging dynamism.
The album was a striking departure from their earlier material - but this is a band which never particularly concerned itself with easy categorization or its proper place in the musical spectrum. This track in particular has a driving, accessible pop bent, earning them frequent play on alternative radio back in the day. I caught the band touring for this album - they were a tight and polished live act radiating excitement and disciplined craftsmanship. Guitarist and lead vocalist Hugh Cornwell in particular inspired me with his smart black Telecaster and the ringing clarity he wrought out of it.
Posted by Max MacDonald