The Stranglers - Giants
The Stranglers - Giants

Album Review

Album title
The Stranglers
Release date
5 Mar

More info

Playing O2 Academy on 3 Mar

The Stranglers – Giants

2/5 stars
Album review by Sam Wiseman.
Published 28 February 2012

The first Stranglers LP since 2006’s Suite XVI explores some relatively unknown territories for the band, now in their 38th year. Freedom is Insane begins like a meditation CD, all wave noises and cheesy floating synths, before stepping up into familiar driving rock mode; My Fickle Resolve dabbles in cocktail-jazz rhythms with awkward results; and Adios (Tango) is an ill-advised stab at you guessed it tango.

Such engagements with unfamiliar genres are laudable in theory, but they’re ultimately hamstrung by an inability to think beyond the timeworn parameters of the Stranglers’ sound. In each case, Dave Greenfield’s trademark keyboard runs, Jean-Jacques Burnel’s robust bass hooks, and Baz Warne’s somewhat bland, uninspired guitar solos are offered up in lieu of any kind of genuine rethink; as a result, Giants often sounds more like four session musicians engaging in half-hearted pastiche than a serious attempt to pursue new directions.

Comments (29)

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  • I've heard some of it live and some courtesy of YouTube and think Time was once on my side, Giants and Boom Boom all sound excellent..

    "Baz Warne’s somewhat bland, uninspired guitar solos" - you are certainly no Wiseman.

    Posted by Sean | Tuesday 28 February 2012 @ 12:40

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  • I do not agree with your review at all. After all you are just one individual and it is not very hip to like the Stranglers as a reviewer.
    The legions of followers know better and the lads continue to play quality music.
    In a sea of over hyped bland pop pin ups they stand out as a a bit of solid quality.

    Posted by Martin | Tuesday 28 February 2012 @ 12:58

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  • Based on hearing some of the studio tracks on the radio, some of the album tracks live, and a review I read recently by John Robb who absolutley raved about it, I am expecting the album to sound amazing.

    Cheesey, awkward, ill advised stab at, hamstrung, inability, bland, uninspired and half-hearted...Do you get the feeling young Sam didn't like it much?

    Posted by Andy | Tuesday 28 February 2012 @ 13:26

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  • Sorry Mr. Wiseman, this album is a ****(*), not a ** star album. After listening to all tracks completley a few times now, there's sheer class shining through. At least partly absolutely amazing sound. Of course not everybody's cup of tea, but which music is then?

    Posted by Chris | Tuesday 28 February 2012 @ 14:53

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  • You seem to have done a great job in entertaining your few readers, we've all got a good laugh out of this ;) '4 Session musicians' You say after mentioning their 38 year magic... May i ask, would 4 session musicians in their 40's-70's still be releasing albums this far down the line, unless they were a just a shot more than 'half hearted'? ...Would they still be selling out venues and taking on tours, stretching out for months on end unless they had put 38 years of passion into their music? ...Well at least you have originality over brains.. because all music writers are well known for their Strangler love ;) O, and we would all love to know how Baz is STILL playing the typical Stranglers sounds when he only joined the band 12 years ago.... oh dear

    Posted by igobymanynames. | Tuesday 28 February 2012 @ 20:22

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  • Get a Grip Mr Wiseman. Think you are a bit wide of the mark with your dismissive summary. Might I suggest you take some time to go and see them LIVE on their UK tour that starts in early March. Then do a further review & try and define exactly what the parameters are that the Stranglers work within. I challenge you to be challenged by a wide & diverse catalogue that continually evolves.

    Posted by Duncan | Tuesday 28 February 2012 @ 21:19

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  • I love this album. Somewhat different to the last couple of albums. What's great about it is that The Stranglers continue to surprise.

    Posted by Chris | Tuesday 28 February 2012 @ 21:21

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  • This album is an excellent addition to anyone's music collection, and an even better addition for all Stranglers fans. Love it.

    Posted by Toby | Wednesday 29 February 2012 @ 18:34

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  • No offence but have you heard much of The Stranglers' back catalogue? New genres? They released a cocktail-jazz version of Bring on the Nubiles years ago (Cruel Garden and Old Codger, the latter sung by George Melly, no less, were also jazz, as were a number of other songs), and actually recorded a song called It Only Takes Two to Tango.

    Posted by Stephen | Wednesday 29 February 2012 @ 19:48

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  • Having not heard material from the new album, I know I'm not one to judge - and I know I'm nothing if not biased, having grown up with The Stranglers, for the past (and first) 15 years of my life - but "Cheesy", "Awkward", "Bland" and "Uninspired" are certainly never words that's ever sprung to my ming whilst listening, and I highly doubt that much will have changed, in the 6 years since one of my favourite albums of all time. VERY much looking forward to being able to give a valid opinion, when I go and see them in concert, for the second time. Anticipating some new songs, and some familar sounds.

    Posted by Ally | Wednesday 29 February 2012 @ 22:17

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  • I believe you have a spot at the top of a tower in Paris........JJ I'll lend a hand

    Posted by Graeme Robbins | Wednesday 29 February 2012 @ 22:37

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  • Uninspiring, unconsidered throw away.................. REVIEW........... your spot gaffer taped to the top of the london eye awaits you. But then I doubt JJ gives a monkeys about your review

    Posted by Tim | Thursday 01 March 2012 @ 00:02

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  • There's a lot of hot air being pumped about here eh? A lot of deluded maniacs reading whatever they like into what's essentially a balanced review.

    Where's Hugh?

    Posted by Shabugger | Thursday 01 March 2012 @ 00:23

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  • I'm impressed that four of these Stranglers fans have the wherewithal to each capitalise one word in their tirade to indicate the exact point at which their anger froths over into a full body orgasm.

    Posted by Shukla | Thursday 01 March 2012 @ 11:18

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  • Read the FMV review for a reviewer with the ability to comprehend Aural Sculpture:).

    Posted by Rob Hurley | Saturday 03 March 2012 @ 09:57

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  • STRANGLERS FAN: Hello. I was wondering if you could fix my laptop?

    REPAIRMAN: Of course. What seems to be the problem?

    STRANGLERS FAN: I'm not sure. I was reading a review of the Stranglers new album on The Skinny and it just stopped working.

    REPAIRMAN: HOLY SHIT. This laptop is almost completely filled with semen and tears. Did you fuck it while crying?

    STRANGLERS FAN: I can't be expected to remember every single thing I have had sex with out of a raging sense of disagreement.

    REPAIRMAN: Ok. I will see what I can do. Personally I didn't think that 'Giants' was all that good, but that's just my opinion.

    STRANGLERS FAN: Cool. By the way, Is there someone else back there who knows how to get semen and tears out of a completely wrong repairman?

    Posted by FRED FLETCH | Saturday 03 March 2012 @ 11:56

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  • Just been to see them, think they played 4 or 5 of the new songs and all sounded great to me.

    Oh and the guy with the post about fucking laptops is clearly a cock-end who thinks he's funnier than he is.

    Well done for working the sum out though.

    Posted by Dave | Saturday 03 March 2012 @ 14:20

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  • Agrees with Tim above, JJ and the rest of the band won't lose any sleep over this review. Every other review of the album ive read has been raving about it, saw them live last nite and have heard studio versions of half the songs so far and the album sounds great. To still be recording, touring and attracting interest not to mention being signed to a major lable is no mean feat after 38 years in the business.

    Posted by robert | Sunday 04 March 2012 @ 14:54

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  • How many discerning Strangler fans does it take to change a review? As many as it takes to not realise the purpose of any one review.

    Posted by Lewis | Sunday 04 March 2012 @ 15:35

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  • Rob Hurley, making nae sense whatsoever.

    Posted by Donald | Sunday 04 March 2012 @ 20:24

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  • I recall that back in their day, these boys once got a bad review from a journalist, so they tracked him down and tied him to a wheelchair and gently tortured him! mmmmmm them wos the days eh?

    Posted by sidney | Monday 05 March 2012 @ 08:51

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  • Poorly written review but the journalist probably hasnt recovered from the lyrics of ugly all those years ago....... Its different for.........

    Posted by BigB | Monday 05 March 2012 @ 14:55

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  • Cheap shot, BigB.

    Posted by stephen | Monday 05 March 2012 @ 19:11

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  • Can't stop playing this album, it's achingly good even on only the second listen.

    Genuinely baffled by this boys review of it on here.

    Posted by Ben | Tuesday 06 March 2012 @ 17:00

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  • ...and I refer to my original point.

    Posted by Lewis | Wednesday 07 March 2012 @ 22:41

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  • Merely aspiring to the same standard of Journalism that the reviewer does. Glad you liked it Stephen.

    Posted by BIGB | Friday 23 March 2012 @ 08:16

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  • Yeah definitely better than the Kornholes. They both cry when someone doesn't like their favourite wanking soundtrack but at least they can spell.

    Posted by Aaron A Aaronson | Friday 23 March 2012 @ 12:45

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  • Not only did their recent Vienna gig ROCK, I got this CD at the concert - boy am I glad I did! This 'reviewer' knows nothing!

    And Stephen (post Feb 2012 at 19:48) - there was also the song "Let's Tango in Paris" on the Feline album. OK it was not exactly a tango rhythm but it was still experimental and it worked!

    Posted by Loulou | Thursday 07 June 2012 @ 14:10

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  • 6 month on - been listening to this on and off . Have to say very average at best . A few good tracks - Freedom , 15 Steps , but this is balanced with possibly th eworst track they have ever done - Mercury Rising and the dreadfully dull Camden . The rest is filler - a tied effort by people who took 6 years and apparently have few idea's left .

    Posted by JPB | Friday 12 October 2012 @ 18:54

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