The Stranglers
Rattus Norvegicus


4.5
superb

Review

by Pint of stella USER (13 Reviews)
August 11th, 2012 | 15 replies | 3,022 views


Release Date: 1977 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A well crafted debut album that is drenched in attitude, most of it bad, cranium splitting bass lines, brilliant song writing and eh chauvinism.

Dark, edgy, angular, masculine and very confrontational.

The Stranglers were always outsiders in the UK punk scene; this was mainly attributed to the members age and use of a keyboard (an instrument considered highly unfashionable in the late 70s). Their reputation was hardly positive; accusations of chauvinism, heavy drug use, violent behaviour towards other bands and journalists and sexual deviancy. Many of theses points were embellished, many were factual. However, their debut album is one that demonstrates, unlike many of their peers in 1977, the Stranglers were skilled musicians and songwriters. Keyboard aside they had more of a punk attitude then many other acts. Even if a lot of the hype was fictional they were a band that made great music.

Rattus Norvegicus, (the Latin name for the rats responsible for the plague) is an outstanding album. It has aged well and the dexterity of all four band mates is clear through out. If it comes in the form of Hugh Cornwell’s psychedelic guitar licks, which shows prominence in ‘Down In The Sewer’. JJ Burnel’s fantastically deep and pumping bass lines and Dave Greenfield’s swirling keyboard. The band is a tight unit throughout. Evidently clear in ‘Hanging Around’. The bands song writing ability also puts them above the verse-chorus-verse-chorus ilk of their peers. For example ‘Down In The Sewer’ has more in common with the song structure of a progressive rock composition, rather than your average punk song. The song writing is angular on many other numbers, focusing on crescendos and a healthy use of dynamics.

The whole album bristles with a menacing aura that suggests violence. The first line on opener ‘Sometimes’ is ‘Sometimes I want to smack your face’, for God sake. This is repeated in ‘Ugly’ with the protagonist regretting strangling his girlfriend to death. This song also features the classic one liner ‘An ugly fart gets a good looking chick if he’s got money’ (insert Hugh Hefner or Peter Stringfellow joke here).

‘Peaches’, arguably their most famous anthem, has one of the most recognisable bass lines in history and showcases the bands skill for mixing controversy with humour. This song was the reason they were branded chauvinists, due to its theme of admiring bronzed female figures on summer beaches. Spurious libel, as what straight man does not look at women on the beach? Calling a band chauvinistic for this is pretty crass. However, it added to the hype and gave the band a healthy dose of publicity. Especially as the song entered the top 10 in the UK single charts.

Like many other punk bands of the time the Stranglers were also great at reflecting angst. Whether it’s in ‘London Lady’ which emulates the falseness and superficial attitude of music journalists. ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Ugly’; relationship problems and sexual self consciousness or ‘Hanging Around’ a sideways look at adolescent hood in big cities.

This album is perhaps one of the Stranglers greatest in that it reflected their malevolent attitude towards life. The songs are much rawer than their later polished and poppier material. It cleverly fits in the punk ethos of doing things for yourself and showing no concern of what others thought. How many other punk acts would have been brave enough to have a keyboard or experiment with different song structures? In a time that was made of two minute long, amphetamine fuelled numbers the Stranglers clearly stood above the rest with attitude, nous and a fantastic aptitude for musicianship.



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user ratings (34)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
xfearbefore
August 11th 2012



1245 Comments


Fuckyeah a Stranglers review, quite underrated little group but I always thought they were a better singles band.

Digging: Tiger Army - Tiger Army

ZedO
August 12th 2012



1096 Comments


yup this sounds interenting to check out...

MarvinLapsus
August 12th 2012



128 Comments


Great album. For me, the best track here is "Hanging around", both energetic and beautiful in lyrical content and execution. And yeah, this band (as many of the original punk bands) is nowadays quite a bit forgotten.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
September 27th 2012



15795 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

stranglers were great, Peaches bassline m/

Digging: Synaesthesia (UK) - Synaesthesia

essenceoftong
September 28th 2012



7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great album, shame one of their best ever tracks, Goodbye Toulouse, rarely gets a mention in reviews

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 26th 2012



15795 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

jeez 5 comments and No More Heroes not even reviewd

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 1st 2012



15795 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i guess these guys never got a sniff outside the UK

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 7th 2012



15795 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hanging around is perfect

Cygnatti
December 17th 2012



21349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

interesting...

Digging: The Avalanches - Since I Left You

Mad.
March 22nd 2014



3587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Brilliant album, especially Hanging Around and of course the legendary Peaches

Digging: Dwellers - Pagan Fruit

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
March 22nd 2014



15795 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

shit, there goes the charabang

Mad.
March 22nd 2014



3587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Any chance you'll review The Raven, mena?

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
March 22nd 2014



15795 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i dunno mate probs not worth it, not much interest in stranglers round here

Mad.
March 22nd 2014



3587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well that's why you gotta MAKE SOME, eh!

Down in the Sewer is one of the best on this fo sho

Mad.
July 7th 2014



3587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Christ he told his mother
Christ he told her not to bother
'Cause he's alright in the city
He's high above the ground




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