Hugh Cornwell – Hooverdam

January 01, 1970

(Invisible Hands Music)


Old punks don’t die, they simply fade away.  Unless of course they’re Sid Vicious, and
then they merely OD.  Happily, Hugh
Cornwell refuses to do either, although Hooverdam,
Cornwell’s first album in nearly nine years, does hint that he’s
mellowing.  Of course everything’s
relative when in the context of his former band, the Stranglers, a group whose
penchant for gloomy, angst intensive ruminations built them a solid following
among their fans, and begrudging nods from the critics. 


Cornwell still flirts with atmosphere and ambiance, but
these days he’s more a crusty Lou Reed than the dark godfather of goth he once
was.  While the foreboding figure
adorning the cover is clearly meant to recall the image of his old outfit,
Cornwell himself is clearly veering towards Rock’s middle ground.  There still seems something sinister lurking
in the essence of “Delightful Nightmare” and “Banging On At the Same Old Beat,”
but most of these tracks – “Beat of My Heart” and “Philip K. Ridiculous” in
particular – take on a semi whimsical bearing, as if Cornwall’s suddenly been
reborn as a disciple of pure pop. So too, if a song like “Please Don’t Put Me
On a Slow Boat to Trowbridge” suggests he’s keeping his edge intact, others
show him retracing well-trod terrain – from the Bo Diddley beat of “Within You
Or Without You” to the liberal use of the “Crosstown Traffic” riff on the aptly
titled “Wrong Side of the Tracks.” 
Cornwell’s back, but not necessarily in black.


Standout Tracks: “Please Don’t Put Me On a Slow Boat to Trowbridge,” “Banging On At the Same Old


Leave a Reply