The Stranglers

The Old Testament: The U.A. Studio Recordings (1977-1982)

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A lavish package celebrating the myriad bumps, bruises, and highlights of the Stranglers' earliest and best, the boastfully titled Old Testament is a four-CD set (five, in some editions) that spans the group's first six albums (up to 1981's La Folie), also including a number of non-LP singles and B-sides. (Physical editions of the box also contain an exhaustive -- if blindly...er, boastful -- 112-page book, which makes the package all the more attractive for longtime fans who have long since hunter-gathered the rarities.) It would be a major gamble to make this your first Stranglers purchase, especially due to the 1997 release of The Hit Men, which runs through the band's stylistically varied singles and doesn't indulge too much in the Stranglers' lengthy deterioration phase(s). They were productive from 1977-1981, discounting the number of album tracks that really shouldn't have seen the light of day. Make no mistake, nearly every good thing they did can be found within these four discs, save for the odd later hit like 1984's soft rock gem "Skin Deep." The 80-plus songs on The Old Testament definitely prove the Stranglers to be worthy of a box set.

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