The knives were out for The Stranglers in late 1981 with the release of the band's sixth studio album. Some of the writing from these detractors is lazy and the attention to detail is somewhat lacking.... mistakes I have left in. For example NME's Barry Hoskyns goes to the trouble a penning a detailed panning of the album but then goes on to describe the title track as 'a sad lament sung in Cornwell’s most deadpan tone'.... leave the French to the French one perhaps Barry?
Presented below are reviews from three of the big four UK music weeklies, New Musical Express, Sounds and Record Mirror (any one have a review from Melody Maker?). Also are included is the review from the more teen orientated Smash Hits and one local press review lifted from Jet's press scrapbooks.
An unexpected pleasure. The band have dropped their bully boy tone and replaced it with a delicacy and lightness of touch that I thought I'd never hear from the hectoring meninblack. The title, which refers to the whole madness of human life, is a strict guide to the record's contents -love, the family and the mental warps they can produce. For once, a sharp intelligence has been wrapped around the Stranglers' loudly held opinions.
(8 out of 10)
From the opening Farfisa beat of Non Stop to the final notes of the title track, La Folie is a classic.
And it’s only February.
The Stranglers have found you don’t need to throw everything plus the kitchen sink into an arrangement to make effective statements.
There’s an economy of style I first noticed on Duchess and the mood is closer to solo Lou Reed at times to the Doors, who were always a strong influence.
If you love Golden Brown, the hit single, that recalls Dave Brubeck and Gerry Marsden in one shot, then you’ll be pleased to hear that every track is equally matchless.
I noted in particular how Hugh Cornwell’s solo sneaks up from behind and makes use of a guitar tone most musicaians would dismiss as old fashioned. Dave Greenfield is, of course, superb on keyboards, but the power of the Stranglers would not be the same without Jean-Jacques Burnel and Jet Black. I’ve a feeling that only The Jam will stand any chance of topping this disc before next January.