Hugh Cornwell has always had a penchant for a tune and his smooth tones have always been the icing on the cake. One thing is for sure The Stranglers will never be as mighty without his presence. However, as a solo artist since 1991 Hugh continues to produce pristine pop while also paying respect to a stellar CV with his former punk protagonists.
His recent album entitled Monster marries the present and the past as a series of ten fresh compositions meet with an acoustic-led re-run of ten classics from the yesteryear files of The Stranglers. Twenty tasty tunes offer a bevy of bounty – and, a more gentle 2018 fare links with stripped down Stranglers – to ensure that Mr C does not have to be at full one louder tilt to hit the jackpot. This man in black has always been able to alter the mood with a talent to tamper with the tempo and always come out smelling of roses.
This is most definitely the case here and one can imagine the current crop of compositions being more in line with the latter days of his Stranglers allegiance – when the ability to create radio-friendly fare made for the most commercial of fare and scored chart champions galore. These numbers did not have the venom of a high proportion of the early years but the many faces of a band surfaced and graced the Top 40 without selling out on quality.
The world of music has changed and the pop parade is not a home for good songwriting skills but quick fixes by the beautiful things enjoying their 15 minutes of fame. Monster has several songs that should be in the minds of the mainstream but Radio 1 does not welcome those of an advancing age with over 25 regarded as ancient.
Who else unites songs about Robert Mugabe, Benito Mussolini, Lou Reed, Hedy Lamarr, Evel Knievel and Sgt. Bilko on one record? The answer is Mr Cornwell and the new album Monster makes the link. This selection of sublime songs floats along and it is a shame that the airwaves are not alive with such accomplished aural sculptures. No more Heroes any more – well that is not the case – because our Hugh is a legend!