3 1/2 stars out of 5
By Patrick Prince
There’s enough classy snark spiking out of the opener “Leave Me Alone” on Strangler Hugh Cornwell’s solo album “The Fall and Rise of Hugh Cornwell,” that it’s hard not to like it. And most of the album has the same irresistible attitude, spark and energy.
The only time “The Fall and Rise of Hugh Cornwell” does slip and fall is when it temporarily embarks into the slick area of MTV-ish ’80s in songs called “Break Of Dawn” and “First Bus To Babylon” (Do I dare say Haircut 100?).
Otherwise it is a rise: “Under Her Spell” is a wonderful Syd Barrett-type sing-a-long to a ’60s Who beat; “Please Don’t Put Me on a Slow Boat to Trowbridge” is close to the pop aggression that made The Jam unique in their day; and “Lay Back On Me Pal” has a nice case of its own BritPop … but it’s all Hugh Cornwell, and it’s all very English sounding anyway, which, in the case of rock music, is for the better.