The Stranglers – La Folie (1981) – Lp
The Stranglers are an English rock band, formed as the Guildford Stranglers on 11 September 1974 in Guildford, Surrey, they originally built a following within the mid-1970s pub rock scene. While their aggressive, no-compromise attitude identified them as one of the instigators of the UK punk rock scene that followed, their idiosyncratic approach rarely followed any single musical genre and the group went on to explore a variety of musical styles, from new wave, art rock and gothic rock through the sophisticated pop of some of their 1980s output.
Artist: The Stranglers
Title: La Folie
Label: Liberty Records
Catalog# 1A 064-83219
The Stranglers had initially been the most commercially successful band of the punk/new wave period in Britain, but by 1981, their success had waned noticeably. La folie was a conscious attempt to deliver a more commercial product. The band’s record company, EMI, sent them into the studio with the record producer, Tony Visconti, giving him a brief to “produce each song as if it was a hit single”.
The album’s French language title literally translates to “madness”. In various interviews, the band related that this referred to “The Madness of Love” and that conceptually, each of the songs on the album was intended to explore a different kind or aspect of “love”. The title track is also said to be based upon the story of Issei Sagawa. Hugh Cornwell related in The Stranglers – Song by Song that the correct title of the album’s opening track was “Non Stop Nun”, and he apparently had been unaware that the record company had printed it as simply “Non Stop”.
La Folie is a welcome album in the Stranglers‘ oeuvre, mainly a collection of tight, punchy songs that often suggest the forthright approach of American new wave bands. With one exception, the songs are shorter and more pointed, harking back to the comparative conciseness of some of the tunes on the band’s first two albums, Rattus Norvegicus and No More Heroes, though acidic lyrics still predominate. “Non-Stop” is a typical example, featuring a half-spoken vocal that suggests Lou Reed, a Cars-influenced organ sound, and a bouncy, dance-derived drum beat; this particular song is atypical, however, because it employs a blues-oriented progression. An interesting excursion is encountered in the song “Golden Brown,” a subdued, jazz-influenced number with purring vocals, a coolly executed synthesizer/harpsichord backing texture, and a periodically stumbling beat. Only the plushly understated title track suggests the sprawl typical of the group’s immediately preceding releases. This fine album is well worth purchasing.
1. Non Stop (2:28)
2. Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead (2:42)
3. Tramp (3:06)
4. Let Me Introduce You To The Family (3:06)
5. Ain’t Nothing To It (3:58)
6. The Man They Love To Hate (4:25)
1. Pin Up (2:49)
2. It Only Takes Two To Tango (3:40)
3. Golden Brown (3:30)
4. How To Find True Love And Happiness In The Present Day (3:08)
5. La Folie (6:10)