The Stranglers were always outliers, probably before the term was even in the common vernacular.
Their first two records were right in the thick of the punk ethos but strangely dissimilar to anything else. The fact they could play their instruments made them different for a start.
The first track I heard of theirs was the wonderful “(Get a) grip (on yourself)”. The misogynous masterpiece “Peaches” also left an immediate impression.
However, several albums in, no one saw this coming. One of my favourite records of all time, this was a profound shift sideways and towards meticulously crafted, Euro-pop.
Stunning then, just as stunning now.
This 2022 remaster, on funky translucent red and pink-swirl vinyl, also includes a brilliant bonus slab, of 12" singles, remixes and oddities. I’m not usually a fan of these, but these extras are subperb.