Nosferatu – Hugh Cornwell and Robert Williams

The other night I chanced upon an irate caterpillar.
I decided to listen to this today as I saw Hugh live last week playing his new album, Totem and Taboo (which is an absolute gem and sounds incredible live). This album happened, or fell out of some unstructured sessions that were fuelled by drugs and some of Hugh Cornwell’s mates (Ian Dury, Devo, members of Frank Zappa’s band and even The Clash). And it is a great album that really doesn’t sound like it was made in Post-punk 1979, all from unplanned cheap studio time.
I wonder if an artist like Lady Gaga would ever take a punt on some cheap through-the-night studio time and an improvised back-up band. I imagine she does market research three weeks before going into the studio, and writes songs according to the various demographics that she represents. But in the end, after all the market research, she still sounds like derivative 80s disco music in a funny dress. This album still sounds fresh and I wonder why Hugh doesn’t play these tracks live any more. Wrong Way Round is a great track and could have been a single back in the day. My favourite track is Losers in a Lost Land, this was about as far from Punk as you could get, although at the time I remember hating it.
Hidden gem; Irate Caterpillar

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Totem and Taboo – Hugh Cornwell

What’s totem for me, is taboo for you.
This is a bit sneaky as this record is not out until September. However I have a pre-release copy so I am going to write about it. When I started doing this blog I mentioned that it isn’t going to be a blog of album reviews. However, when the album is new, it is a lot harder to avoid the R word. I will try to give a straight review, if I can.
The album sounds great on speakers and headphones, I think using Steve Albini has given the album a very different feel to previous releases, although there is some continuity with the analogue sound of Hooverdam (his previous album). The real stand-out track, no, jump out and slap your face track is – In the Dead of Night. I kid you not, this is the best track Hugh has done since his Stranglers heyday (Rattus to La Folie) and is cast from the same mould as those final track Stranglers epics that they were so good at doing (School Mam, Toiler, Down in the Sewer). Another favourite of mine is, Street Called Caroll. I saw him doing this track earlier in the year and it sounded like a classic even then, with just voice and acoustic guitar.
It must be good, I listened to it three times today.