Hugh Cornwell

Totem and Taboo

Cadiz Music

OLD rockers never die. Hugh Cornwell, the other week, selected tracks by Bob Dylan and Lou Reed as his current playlist. Like that venerable duo, Cornwell, 63, continues to produce compelling, individual work.

Totem and Taboo (the title references a collection of essays by Sigmund Freud) was produced by Steve Albini, who has worked with everyone from Nirvana to The Stooges, and the result, over these 10 songs, is a record that has some of the propulsive, gritty energy of early Stranglers, driven by Chris Bell's drumming and Steve Fishman's driving bass work.

The album yields its eloquent lyrical strengths on repeated listenings: stand-out tracks include the evocative A Street Called Carroll, Love Me Slender, I Want One of Those, a commentary on consumerism, and, unquestionably best of all, the atmospheric, nine minute noir epic, In the Dead of Night, which should become a live favourite. Cornwell's forthcoming tour (Aberdeen Lemon Tree October 4, Glasgow Arches October 5) sees him play the new album and the Stranglers' landmark 1977 record, No More Heroes, but Totem and Taboo is strong enough on its own.