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

Monday, 28 January 2013

Cool For Cats - Feline Hits The Big 30!

As heralded on the official site (carrying a great piece on the album, here), this month marks the 30th anniversary of the 'Feline' album (or 210 years old in cat years if you prefer). Therefore prepare yourselves for a tranche (good word that!) of Feline related material.

This album, or perhaps more accurately The Collection of 1982 which preceded it, is where my earnest interest in the band started, with 'Feline' following on soon after. Annoyingly, I also remember all too well, a group of mates changing out of school uniform into punk gear before sneaking out of the school back gates in order to make the journey from Lewes to Brighton to see The Stranglers play. This would have been on 17th February 1983. Don't ask me why I did not go, I had been going to gigs for about 14 months by this point and already had a few under my belt. Perhaps I had an exam or something (I was always a conscientious pupil!), but what ever the reason, next day my mates had ringing ears and great stories and I had a ticket stub, a copy of Strangled and a Feline and Rattus badge from the gig..... oh well.

A donated ticket stub.... the full extent of my live Feline experience!

As someone for whom 'Feline' was a starting point (from which I subsequently quickly worked backwards through the back catalogue), the dramatic change in pace and aggression that the album represented didn't provoke in me the kind of reaction that was reflected in the pages of Strangled in the issues that came after its release. In fairness, I think that had I had more experience with the band, 'Feline' may indeed have been an abomination to my ears as well!

I can honestly say that I love 'Feline'. For me it is the last Stranglers album that retains a real menace. That menace, or perhaps it's something more of a brooding (?) drips from the record, even when the material is so melodic. I find that feeling hard to explain, but someone may get it. Anyway, the other things that I like about 'Feline' is that it is brass-free (all of my latter experiences with Mark I featured that brass section, which may have augmented a couple of songs, but did very little for entire sets.... for me at least) and it does not suffer from the horrible overblown production techniques that ruined many an album made in the mid to late '80s.

As an album, it achieves exactly what JJ and the others intended it to. It is so European, even ignoring the lyrical content, to listen to 'Feline' is to be transported to a French village square on a summer evening .... if you really concentrate you can taste the Pastis!

As an album 'Feline' is a triumph, it has aged very well in my opinion (like a fine wine?) and to that I'll raise a glass of Pinot and declare 'Bon anniversaire !', 'Feliz Cumpleaños!' and 'Buon compleanno!'


  1. Great memories of one of my favourite albums. Also nice to get a rip of one of my vinyl bootlegs - cheers again Ade.

  2. Nice read Adrian, I couldn't agree more. I remember taking the day off college to go and grab this LP. The only track I could never fully warm to was Paradise, I remember being incredibly disappointed at that being a single choice (bought it anyway though). Got to see them at Brum Odeon, both nights and yes I "ïnvested"in red braces!

  3. Hi Adrian
    Great read, fantastic album got to see the band at the Birmingham Odeon both nights.
    West Bromwich

  4. Buon Compleanno a Feline allora! cheers from Italy bye Davideinblack