Aural Sculptors - The Stranglers Live 1976 to the Present

Welcome to Aural Sculptors, a blog aimed at bringing the music of The Stranglers to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst all of the various members of the band that have passed through the ranks since 1974 are accomplished studio musicians, it is on stage where the band have for me had their biggest impact.

As a collector of their live recordings for many years I want to share some of the better quality material with other fans. By selecting the higher quality recordings I hope to present The Stranglers in the best possible light for the benefit of those less familiar with their material than the hardcore fan.

Needless to say, this site will steer well clear of any officially released material. As well as live gigs, I will post demos, radio interviews and anything else that I feel may be of interest.

In addition, occasionally I will post material by other bands, related or otherwise, that mean a lot to me.

Your comments and/or contributions are most welcome. Please email me at

Sunday, 12 January 2020

The Wonders Don't Care - Just As Well Really..... The Record Reviews

Debut single review by Danny Baker.
Sniffin’ Glue Issue 10 June 1977.

One chord Wonders/Quickstep (STIFF) 

I really like the Adverts, (Gary Gilmore’s Eyes is a classic), as ever the drums and bass are right up front, for a group, (all join in on this cliché) – you either love or hate. Great track, ‘specially the lyrics, but will do lousy as a single, good B side ennall.

Ripped & Torn Fanzine Issue 9 (November 1977) Single Review by Tony Drayton

Safety in Numbers/We Who Wait (Anchor)

This isn’t very good at all. Onstage it’s a fairly good highlight but on the old black vinyl it doesn’t cut it at the first half, and when the chorus comes in it doesn’t lift it like it should, like it could have with a bit of thought. I like the pic sleeve.

Melody Maker 5th November 1977

Safety in Numbers/We Who Wait (Anchor)

Neither have the instantaneous impact of that ghoulish delight that was “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes,” but with a little perseverance they will reward in a different fashion. 

What does strike straight away is how improved Tim Smith is. His larynx has never been more assured and expressive as he lashes out a few home truths about the Blank Generation. 

“Safety in Numbers” includes lines like “It is the latest thing to be nowhere/And turn into wallpaper/And you know you’re always there anyway.” Spite? Sour grapes? No. Just a more balanced and considered outlook.

Producer/journalist (they get everywhere nowadays) Miles has laudably given the distinctive juddering tempo a fine cutting edge. The cover has a wry touch – new wave pin-up Gaye Advert is represented by her bass in its case. No exploitation for these lads.

New Musical Express 21st January 1978

No Time to be 21 (Bright Records)

Their fourth record and The Adverts definitely come of age, settling down and hinting at future consistency. This is a good rock song, an insidious number, a grower, and it borrows healthily. The group, it seems have at last found an instrumental balance, and there is no destruction of that precise, charging Adverts sound. Their smartest single. Will chart, will take time. No-one predicted them for the big break this year, but they don’t care. They have something to say. Juggling with clichés and coming out well on top.

Sounds 18th November 1978

Television’s Over (RCA)

Another outbreak of cathode tube blue-glow poisoning has been reported in TV Smith’s living room. Old thoughts and dull chords make Britain a bad place to dance in. Less entertainment value than the closedown dot on 625 lines.

New Musical Express 27th October 1979

Cast of Thousands (RCA) 

A band that steadfastly refuses to acknowledge its own futility. Their one moment of singles fame came with the help of a song which bore a remarkable resemblance to an old Slade album track. Lacking any such inspiration on this occasion, they strum a sloppy, misconceived song about doom and other important things, and sound about as convinced of the need to make this statement as you are to be of the need to hear it. The unorthodox slant of TV Smith’s lyrics may one day pay off, but not until he writes songs that aren’t as instantly forgettable and finds a band to play them that isn’t instantly hopeless. All five Adverts wear mascara. Somewhere along the line there is a connection.

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