'We are Ladies!!'
Consider this as a complementary piece to this earlier post.
In 1979, the band were at their most prolific with a live contractual album, a studio album considered by many to be their finest and solo albums from the band's two frontmen. After 1979, for a couple of years the band hit something of a low, beset as they were with multiple problems, personal and financial and not all of human making (potentially!).
However, in 1983, the Stranglers' phoenix rose once again from the ashes with the release of 'Feline'. Whilst the album was not to everyone's taste (it represented a radical departure from the norm, even for a band with a reputation for challenging the expectations of their fanbase), but the band were obviously comfortable and confident with this new direction. On the live front, they embarked on a tour that took them around Europe and Stateside, it was their heaviest schedule since the early days.
The promotion of 'Feline' took up much of 1983, but seemingly the creative juices were still overflowing, leaving JJ and Dave with no other option but to dress up as women and head back into the studio to record a film soundtrack no less. Whist the film 'Ecoutez Vos Murs' may have been off the mur (see Strangled article below), the resultant album 'Fire and Water' is a joy of an album. There is not a duff track on it.
Dave's playing stands out massively for me, this being an opportunity for him to play in a style that was free from the constraints imposed by that 'Stranglers sound'. Layer upon layer of sound are laid down, as befits a soundtrack I suppose. Listen to 'Liberation', Le Soir and especially 'Consequences'. Couple that with JJ's newfound discovery of actually singing and the result is a rich mixture of sounds that manage to conjour cafe bars in European boulevards (albeit via the drizzle of Thatcherite Britain as presented in 'Rain & Dole and Tea'). 'Fire and Water, also prepared the foundations for JJ's 'Un Jour Parfait' on which he was again ably assisted by Mr Greenfield.
'Fire and Water' if for me perhaps the best side-project to emerge from the Stranglers camp. I suggested that JJ and Dave revisited this for the Convention, but no-one was listening.... maybe next time eh?
Listen to what JJ had to say of the film and album in this radio interview recorded in Oslo back in 1983.