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, 17 November 2014

Happy Birthday Aural Sculpture

In 1984, I was very much a back seat music critic. Aged 15 I was in the first term of the 4th year (that's year 10 to younger readers) when Aural Sculpture hit Woolworth's racks. Disposable income was non-existent at that time so album purchases were few and far between. When someone did buy an album (more often than not with WH Smith's vouchers received from an aging aunt on a birthday or at Christmas) they did the rounds at school and in this way music collections were built up on C90 cassettes.

Anyway, my mate and I had a habit of passing the time on the back of the school bus pouring over record sleeves and analysing the lyrical content of any albums that we got our hands on (within the bounds of good taste of course).

Aural Sculpture was one such album to receive this treatment in November of that year. Of the album tracks, then as now 'Spain' was a stand out song. The line '.... but the pleasure got caught in pain, ended up like a bull in a china shop, under the name of Spain', prompted me to read George Orwell's 'Homage to Catalonia'...... oh did I forget to mention that as well as being back seat music journo's in waiting, we also tried to carry off an air of pseudo-intellectualism (with added spots!)?..... what knobs!

Other songs hit home too, such as 'Skin Deep', 'Souls' and 'Ice Queen'. I also remember well getting hold of the singles.... much more affordable that the album and what a juvenile joy 'Vladimir and The Beast Was' to the 15 year old dirty mind..... 'Ah dear Dmitri!'.

A few months later I saw the band for the first time at the Brighton Centre and the bond with the band was firmly cemented.

'Aural Sculpture' was a flawed masterpiece in that some elements of it worked and some maybe worked not so well, this was certainly carried through to the tour with the sometimes hit and miss utilisation of the brass section.

But it was truly a Stranglers album not least in the sense that it continued the tradition of confronting and testing the fan's expectations. The addition of brass was as much a challenge to the die-hard as 'The Raven', 'The Gospel' and 'Feline' were in the preceding years. And that kind of sums up the band for me, four musicians who refuse to do what is expected of them in the studio.... and to hell with the consequences.... as a music fan i must admire that irrespective of whether I like the result of not.

The last resting place of the Ear
14th June 1988

1 comment:

  1. Well-used, by this time, to a new listening experience with every album - this one was still a shock, but, after a couple of listens - a very pleasant one. They really hammered the single releases as well, and it was hard to keep up with all the variations, but I managed to hoover them all up. Definitely a flawed masterpiece and contains one of my most favourite tracks in 'Souls' - Watch out for the most recent CD reissue though, as it mysteriously drops an entire verse from this classic track (which is the Irish version, apparently...!)