Review by Mark Fleming|
3½ stars out of 4
During Punk Rock's heyday, The Stranglers were dismissed by many of their
peers because they didn't look the part: their combined ages (they were
a 4-piece) amounted to over 100. Their bearded drummer, Jet Black, in
particular, looked as if he'd need a lie-down after any degree of pogoing.
But this gave an edge to their fusion of Pre-Punk bluesy rock riffs and
safety-pinned thrash. The rat may have been their early logo, but they
were never part of any pack.
'Live X-Cert,' recorded at various London gigs, captures this seminal
Punk band at their best. The opening track is 'Grip', and all the group's
hallmarks are present and correct: Hugh Cornwell's snarling vocals,
Jean-Jacques Burnel's pulsating bass-lines, Jet Black's deft percussion,
and Dave Greenfield's swirling keyboards.
Although 'Live X Cert' concludes with debut single 'Go Buddy Go', there
is more emphasis on the 2nd album 'No More Heroes'; 'Dagenham Dave',
'Burning Up Time' and anti-fascist anthem 'Feel Like a Wog' are rattled
through with the furious adrenaline of their live settings.
Side 2 kicks off with the vibrant 'Straighten Out', before launching into
a medley from 'Black and White', their foreboding but majestic 3rd album.
There was little excuse for the live strip-show that accompanied 'Nice n'
Sleazy' other than tabloid-bating: for Tory newspapers who railed against
Punk while displaying photos of semi-nude women, that was seen as
It is worth a pogo down memory lane just to hear singer Hugh Cornwall's
offhand remark: 'Good to see you've all been reading your News of the
Worlds and you're all spitting just like Punks are supposed to be!'