The Stranglers - Giants

The Stranglers - Giants

It is also the lack of punk-rock bravado that leaves ‘Giants’ feeling most empty.


Back in their hey-day, The Stranglers and controversy came hand in hand. Onstage strippers, walk-outs and stadium brawls were all part of the deal - and that’s before we’ve even mentioned the lyrics to ‘Peaches’. J. J. Burnel once thumped punk writer Jon Savage, after his negative review of the band’s album ‘No More Heroes’, and also held another Scottish music journo hostage backstage ready to throw him into the baying crowd.

‘Giants’ shows The Stranglers at least toying with new directions. ‘Adios (Tango)’ is a foray into Latin music, and hearing Baz’s gruff tones on what sounds like an ‘edgy’ Spanish Eurovision entry is too hilarious to miss out on. ‘Mercury Rising’ features a hip-hop influence and an extremely catchy organ solo. While these two songs are not typically the Stranglers’ niche, they at least have some energy, the feeling that Baz and Co. were trying to do something a bit different.

It is improbable that 19 studio albums into a career spanning several decades The Stranglers dedicate much time to hunting down unruly music journalists anymore. As the reviewer this comes as a relief, however it is also the lack of punk-rock bravado that leaves ‘Giants’ feeling most empty. Featuring some fairly rudimentary drumming, and predictable solos, this is the musical equivalent of ‘painting-by-numbers’. Hearing something so un-offensive on the Backstreet Boys’ comeback album wouldn’t be so disappointing. However, when we’re talking about a band that once sung the provocative double entendre “is she tryin’ to get outta that clitares?”, ‘Giants’ seems far too well behaved in comparison.