J.J. BURNEL – “EUROMAN COMETH” (1979)
I’ve always been entertained not only by The Stranglers’ music, hygiene but by their prolific nature. Those dudes released their first three albums (“Rattus Norvigicus”, “No More Heroes” and “Black And White”) within the space of 13 months! No easy feat.
In the midst of the explosive success of these records, somehow both bassist J.J. Burnel and frontman/guitarist Hugh Cornwall found the time to also record solo albums. Cornwall’s was called “Nosferatu”, and featured Captain Beefheart drummer Robert Williams, as well as members of Devo(!) — and Burnel’s was called “Euroman Cometh”. Both albums were a clear departure from the trademark “nice ‘n sleazy” Stranglers sound: “Nosferatu” employed a darker, Gothic sound, and “Euroman Cometh” was very synth and drum machine-heavy, and sounded in the same league as Cabaret Voltaire.
Both albums were not well-regarded at the time, and both players quickly reconvened with their bandmates to churn out the fourth Stranglers LP, “The Raven”. I’ve got mixed feelings about “Euroman Cometh”, but it contains one of the greatest post-punk tracks I’ve heard to date, period–and believe me, I’ve heard a LOT of post-punk at this point. It’s called “Freddie Laker (Airbus and Concorde)”, and it’s abrasive as fuck, but groovy and punchy as well. It sounds like an unholy mixture of The Stranglers and Chrome, and the album download is well worth it for this track alone.