The IMI 12th Oct 2021

How The Stranglers scored their best chart position in 38 years with Absolute

The British band’s Dark Matters album entered the Top 5 of the UK Official Albums Chart at the end of September. A bittersweet success, the record pays tribute to the band’s keyboard player Dave Greenfield, who passed away from Covid-19…

The Stranglers found themselves back in the Top 5 of the UK’s Official Albums Chart after 38 years on September 17, as their Dark Matters album debuted at No.4.

Released via Absolute Label Services, it was the band’s second studio album on their own Coursegood label. Predecessor Giants, however, only managed to breach the Top 50 back in 2012, peaking at No.48.

The Stranglers have earned a total of nine UK Top 10 albums and 19 Top 40s over a career that stretches back to 1977.

The last time the band was in the Top 5 of the Albums Chart was with 1983’s Feline, released on Epic, which also peaked at No.4.

The approach taken by Absolute and Cruisin’ Music Management, – working alongside D2C specialists Townsend Music – had a heavy emphasis on high quality physical product, the band’s direct relationship with committed fans and established pillars at retail.

“From the beginning, the management plan was to appeal to the loyal fans with exciting products on CD and vinyl, and establish a pre-order of the multiple special and limited-edition items for direct to customer sales via their Townsend Music store,” Absolute Marketing Consultant John Waller told The IMI. “Direct to fans sales have become an increasingly important part of an overall campaign, and one which we try to encourage for many of our clients.

“In parallel with The Stranglers D2C offerings, we paid particular attention to the sell-in to indie retail stores with exclusive vinyl product, as well as HMV and Amazon, to ensure fans had access to the new album, both in the UK and Europe.”

Waller also pointed to the impact of well-timed single drops and a number of accompanying videos driven by interesting plots and characters – including the video for This Song, fronted by football legend and Stranglers fan Stuart Pearce (above).

Ultimately, however, Waller was keen to underline the context around Dark Matters and the sentiment behind it – not to mention the craftsmanship underpinning it.

“It’s a great album with fine production and terrific songs on relevant topics,” he said. “It’s a bittersweet project, paying tribute to Dave Greenfield, following his passing last year. There’s real emotional and musical diversity across this album, including some really poignant, heartfelt moments.”