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Hugh Cornwell: Totem And Taboo

Album Review

The punk veteran returns to top form.

Later this year, Hugh Cornwell will embark on a UK tour, performing this new studio album and The Stranglers’ classic No More Heroes in their entirety. Diehard fans may be more likely to start drooling over the latter prospect than the former, but the songs on Totem And Taboo should easily hold their own against the likes of Bring On The Nubiles and Dagenham Dave.

Thanks to a gloriously raw and vibrant sound, courtesy of the ever-reliable Steve Albini, Cornwell’s endearingly sardonic observations on freedom, consumerism and Madonna Louise Ciccone crackle with energy. 

Whether gently poking fun at middle-class myopia on Stuck In Daily Mail Land or smirking wryly at American morality on Gods, Guns And Gays, he sounds more engaged and intense than he has in years. It ends with the menacing sprawl of In The Dead Of Night, Cornwell’s finest and most unashamedly epic moment since the punk era.

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