I had tickets for the Final UK Tour in November 2020. Obviously that didn't happen - it was rescheduled to April 2021, and is now scheduled for February 2022.
I'd bought those tickets back in early 2020 so was not aware what was coming. Also - and perhaps of more importance - Dave Greenfield passed away in May 2020.
This leaves Jean Jacques Burnel as the last Strangler standing (Hugh Cornwell left in 1990, and Jet Black who eased into semi-retirement in 2015, fully retired in 2018 as he approached his 80th birthday)
Dave Greenfield's keyboards do appear on 8 of the 11 tracks on 'Dark Matters', an everyone of those 11 deliver what you want/expect from a Stranglers album. Solid backbeat, rumbling bass, aggressive guitar, and sometimes confrontational vocal (but certainly not on acoustic "The Lines" which underlines the breadth of The Stranglers musicality).
Opener "Water" has all that you want to open the album, and "This Song" just keeps it going - and comes complete with a video featuring uber-fan Stuart Pearce
Track 3 is JJ's tribute to his keyboarding mate "And If You Should See Dave". The lyric talks of loss and missed opportunity to say farewell properly and includes the poignant line:
"It would be nice to say Hello, This is where your solo would go ..."
Recorded against a backdrop of isolation, separation, and personal loss, this album stands as a testament to The Stranglers quality control, songcraft and musicianship. If this is the last of the breed then it is a fitting send off to the band, and the restraint of closer "Breathe" signs off in some style, fading from a cacophony to a single electronic pulse.
All good things must come to an end, sadly some endings are a whimper - this one aint.
Roll on February 2022
(unless it gets postponed again ..)
And If You Should See Dave
The Last Men On The Moon