The Stranglers Spring Tour has become something of an institution over the last few years. Successive outings have seen the band play to fuller and larger venues, as the they take their unique blend of intelligent, aggressive and down-to-earth sound around Britain. Sometimes the band have a new album to showcase, something an anniversary to celebrate, and sometimes they just go out and kicks ass.
Next year The Stranglers will play their third studio album, Black and White, in its entirely during the set. This is a good thing! What’s more the venues are getting bigger with ‘upgrades’ to the likes of the Manchester Apollo and Brixton Academy.
For me Black and White is the album that set The Stranglers apart from any of the other bands that they were linked with at the time. It is an LP that is moody, dark and experimental. Arguably the first ‘post-punk’ album, it underlines how underrated the band have been over the years. If this album had been recorded by the likes of Wire, The Gang of Four or any other of their highly féted contemporaries, I have no doubt that it would have been marked out as a work of considerable merit.
As it is it is largely ignored by those who considered The Stranglers to be unworthy of such high praise, an outsider position that the band themselves arguably propagated. All this means that Black and White is ripe for reassessment, something that I hope will happen as the tour gets closer because it is an album that, despite being 38 years old next year, still feels fresh and absorbing today.
To read other Backseat Mafia articles on The Stranglers, including an interview with JJ Burnel, please click here.