By the time The Raven was released, the Stranglers had branched out a bit from their punk-influenced pop music stylings and grouchy personal-relationship-based lyrics. Half the songs on this album (among them "Dead Loss Angeles," "Nuclear Device," "Shah Shah a Gogo," and "Genetix") spout verses critical of social or political issues. Only the first of these four numbers, with its clipped vocal delivery and stripped-down, bass-heavy arrangement, shows significant British punk influence. Certain songs here exhibit strong mainstream tendencies with no hardcore sensibilities whatsoever, such as "Duchess" (a tuneful power pop number with clear chart-oriented influences) and "Don't Bring Harry" (a slow-tempo, piano-dominated selection). Still other influences can be heard in "Meninblack," a Devo-derived number featuring a synthesized clipped beat/electronic pulse texture, chilly and sanitized-sounding organ, lockstep drums, and Alvin & the Chipmunks-style sped-up vocals. The intriguing "Ice" boasts interesting production touches and an inventively dubious tonal focus. The songs are lengthy, with at times prolix instrumental openings and interludes. Sound quality on the EMI America re-release is uneven at times, with occasional distortion in the drums and percussive low synthesizer. This is a generally good album worth hearing. Original pressings of this release have a 3-D picture on the front cover. Approximately half the songs on this album would be reissued one year later on the U.S. label release IV.
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AllMusic Review by David Cleary