"And If You Should See Dave..."
It is now over a year since the death of the Stranglers' keyboard maestro Dave Greenfield - as I marked here at the time - and there must have been some serious doubt at that point whether the band could carry on, down as it was to its last original member (Hugh Cornwell having pissed off in a huff over thirty years ago, and Brian Duffy aka Jet Black having long since been forced into retirement by ill health).
Carry on they have, however. A new album (I nearly typed 'LP' there, chums; showing my vintage or what?), entitled Dark Matters is due for release in September. As a taster, the Stranglers have just released a single from it (is such a description still valid? Is a 'single' still A Thing?).
The song, And If You Should See Dave..., is, as its title suggests, a tribute to their former comrade, and is a most fitting memorial. It's superbly melodic (as are many of the Stranglers' songs, much to the surprise of those who only know the hits of their raucous new-wave days); the song would be outstanding even without the freight of emotions the lyrics carry; and those lyrics are genuinely moving, with lines like, "How does it feel to be left / In mid-conversation, no less", and, most poignantly of all at the end, "This is where your solo would go". Furthermore, the song is very well played and arranged and unfussily produced.
But that's not all.
This being the age it is, no single from a 'name' artist can possibly be released without its promotional video. The one for this song - by Venezuelan director Vadim Lasca - is almost as remarkable as the song. It is shot in a style which is both warm and wistful, and there are a lot of subtle little references to its subject: the man with the shoulder bag (Greenfield was seldom seen without such a bag); the keyboard on the back seat of the vintage Ford Mustang; the guest appearance of various examples of rattus (including on the licence plate of the car). In short, a perfect match of sound and vision.
In any just and sane world, this song would be a huge hit. But we don't live in such a world, so we just have to content ourselves with knowing how good this track is and how perfect a memorial it is to a gifted and influential musician and - by all accounts - an all-round Good Bloke: