The Stranglers - Giants
Ever the outsiders, The Stranglers return with this, their seventeeth studio album - and proof positive that unfashionability is no barrier to delivering exactly the kind of album their long-time fanbase will appreciate. All the Stranglers trademarks are here: Jean-Jacques Burnel's immediately recognisable bass sound (surely only Peter Hook's defines an era more); Dave Greenfield's Doors-ian keyboard wanderings and an inate understanding of how to still craft punchy, melodic rock nearly four decades after they played their first gigs.
Original vocalist Hugh Cornwall has been out of the band for over 20 years, a fact that probably barely registers with those who've subsequently stuck with the rest of Men in Black, with Burnell and guitarist Baz Warne (himself a decade-plus veteran) now sharing vocal duties. The likes of the title track, with its amusing little telly soundtrack riffs, and the New Model Army-sounding '15 Steps' are likely to become integral parts of the Stranglers live canon, but the highlight comes with 'Boom Boom', a pleasantly jaunty slice of London pop that serves as a reminder what a great, tuneful band they've always been.