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Albums Of The Week: The Stranglers | Dark Matters

The British vets return after nine years to bid farewell to their late keyboardist.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Dark Matters is The Stranglers 18th studio album and first full-length release in nearly a decade. Reflecting its title, the album pays honest tribute to their much-missed keyboard player Dave Greenfield, who tragically passed away a year ago from Covid-19, and who features on many of the tracks recorded for the album.

“A year ago, on May 3rd my great friend and colleague of 45 years, Dave Greenfield, passed away, another victim of the pandemic,” says bassist JJ Burnel. “We had already recorded most of the album with him and during the lockdowns our only wish was to complete it as a fitting tribute to his life and work. I consider this to be one of our finest recordings.”

Surviving bandmembers Burnel and Baz Warne completed Dark Matters remotely during lockdowns, making it their first album since 2012. Greenfield himself features on eight of the 11 tracks, which were made over the course of two years at the band’s studios in the rural idylls of Somerset, and in Southern France, produced by long-time collaborator Louie Nicastro. The first single And If You Should See Dave… celebrates the keyboardist with a contemplative but uplifting dose of ’60s sunshine-drenched rock.

A key member of The Stranglers for 45 years, Greenfield was a highly acclaimed keyboardist whose unique approach and instantly identifiable playing style massively contributed to the group’s inimitable sound. His contributions set the band apart from their peers and his skills are imprinted across Dark Matters.

First formed in 1974, The Stranglers’ aggressive attitude was embraced by the punk movement of the late ’70s. But their musicianship and menace transcended the genre, creating a sound unique to themselves. Their first three albums (Rattus Norvegicus, No More Heroes and Black and White) were released within an astonishing 13 months, scoring hit singles with Peaches, No More Heroes and Walk On By. Further success was to follow with Always The Sun, Strange Little Girl and the mercurial Golden Brown, amongst many others, earning the group 24 Top 40 singles and 18 Top 40 albums in a career that now spans six different decades.”