Tag: Tears For Fears (Page 1 of 3)

WANG CHUNG Interview

May sees the release of ‘Orchesography’, an album of orchestra-backed re-imaginings of WANG CHUNG’s best known songs.

The album sees core members Jack Hues and Nick Feldman reunited for the first time since 2012’s ‘Tazer Up!’ and features new versions of staples like ‘Dance Hall Days’ and ‘Everybody Have Fun Tonight’ alongside The Walking Dead featured ‘Space Junk’ and other selections.

Jack Hues kindly spoke to The Electricity Club about the band’s early years, Hollywood soundtrack experiences and of course, their ‘Dance Hall Days’…

It’s a little known fact that HEAVEN 17’s Glenn Gregory used to be in a band with you prior to you guys forming WANG CHUNG, how did the first incarnation of the band get together?

Glenn Gregory was with us in 57 MEN which was in fact the second incarnation of mine and Nick’s projects together. The first was THE INTELLEKTUALS. I can’t remember how we met Glenn. Word of mouth I think. At that time, Nick and I thought of ourselves as writers really, rather than performers, and Glenn was quite glamorous and could sing….

Were you disheartened that your eponymous debut album failed to make much of an impact?

Probably… but because we hadn’t known “success”, for want of a better word, we didn’t know we didn’t have it… so we just kept going. Also, as an artist, your work is a sort of catalogue of errors so you are not sitting back thinking “this is going to have a big impact”. That first album was such an incredibly steep learning curve, I just wanted to apply the lessons learned to making the next one.

Your breakthrough second album saw you working with Chris Hughes and Ross Cullum who also produced TEARS FOR FEARS’ ‘The Hurting’. ‘Points On A Curve’ was released a few months after that, how did the pair juggle the work on the two projects and what did you learn from working with them?

Chris and Ross had completed their work with  TEARS FOR FEARS so we had their full attention. Working with them was a quantum leap for me and gave me an entirely new way of thinking about music and life. I learnt how to watch television and then talk about it, I learnt how to talk to a sommelier, the best Italian restaurants in London, how any food that is shrink wrapped is not worth eating, that making records takes a long time.

The album was recorded at Abbey Road studio, how was this experience?

Growing up listening obsessively to THE BEATLES as I did, it was a dream come true, quite literally. I loved working there and Chris and Ross were fully aware of what we were doing. I recall it as a magical time.

When you wrote ‘Dance Hall Days’, did you have any inkling of what an important track it would be for you?

No, it was just the next song I was writing. But in retrospect I think I was absorbing so many new influences at that time – really hungry for change and to reach the next level – I was creating the music but the music was also creating me. So the experience with creative work is never a straight line of intention to planned outcome but more like a feedback loop.

There were two different promos made for ‘Dance Hall Days’, the first directed by filmmaker Derek Jarman and the second by Daniel Kleinman. What was the reason for this and do you have a favourite out of the two?

We were signed in the US to Geffen Records in Los Angeles – we weren’t signed in the UK – and when the Americans saw Derek’s video they couldn’t deal with it! So we had to make a “proper” rock video. It was a different time! I liked working with Derek. Again he was a fascinating person, talked about art and literature and theatre and movies in a totally new way for me. He was an artist and very inspiring.

What did you think when ‘Dance Hall Days’ appeared as accompanying music for the male stripper scene in the lesser known Tom Hanks film ‘Bachelor Party’?

I thought, that’s a nice synch…

The Godley & Creme directed ‘Everybody Have Fun Tonight’ promo was interesting, innovative and possibly dangerous if you were epileptic! What were your memories of making this?

I remember the video for ‘Fire In The Twilight’ from ‘The Breakfast Club’ entailed me running through West Hollywood all day, so ‘EBHFT’ was a lot easier as I had to sing the song to camera 7 times and move as little as possible. They were interesting guys to work with. They had just made a documentary about the JFK assassination and showed us the trailer which was very powerful. It was a fun video to make and I liked their rigorous way of working.

‘Everybody Have Fun Tonight’ made a big impact in the US and was in the 1997 film ‘Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion’ alongside ‘Dance Hall Days’, did you see this as a sort of artistic vindication after the challenges in the UK?

I never had any sense of needing vindication in the UK or anywhere else. In a way, working in the USA and coming home to my family here and being relatively anonymous was a good scenario. I never felt we were struggling to make it in the UK. It was what it was.

Director William Friedkin was incredibly influential in bringing greater exposure to artists like TANGERINE DREAM and MIKE OLDFIELD by using their music in his films. It must have been an incredible break to get asked to write music for ‘To Live & Die In LA’ in 1985, how did this happen?

It certainly was. Bill phoned us out of the blue at a time when we were struggling with the follow-up to ‘Points On The Curve’. I had an hour long conversation on the phone with him – we were in London and he was in LA. Essentially he was a big fan of ‘Points On The Curve’ and loved the song ‘Wait’. He was using that as a temp track to watch the day’s rushes and he told me he wanted an hour of music like that that he would then edit into the movie.

So Nick and I hired a little studio in London and did all the instrumental tracks – without seeing the movie!

When you watch the opening credits the tempo of our music and the speed of the printing press are almost identical. That was a complete coincidence! Just one of those magical projects where everything fell into place. Working with Bill was amazing and he remains a good friend to this day.

Friedkin’s work with soundtrack composers (and actors) was often notoriously unorthodox, how was the working process with him?

He gave us complete freedom to do what we did best. Like all great collaborative artists, he knows how to get what he wants but doesn’t limit you to his will. He gets right out of the way and somehow attracts what he wants – like Miles Davis. As I said, we were not writing music to picture. He actually edited the picture to the music in places – which is the best way to work. Movies that do that have a much better pace than those that have scores that slavishly try to keep up with the action. He was extremely generous to us and encouraging.

How would you compare writing film soundtrack music to the construction of normal album?

To the extent that soundtrack music doesn’t require lyrics it is much more free. It is very different from making a normal album. Much more freedom to experiment – however the discipline of a song based album can induce creative solutions in the studio. I wouldn’t want to be without either. We were definitely thinking of music on a bigger scale with ‘To Live & Die In LA’.

The song ‘Space Junk’ works superbly at the end of the pilot episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ (and also in lead actor Rick’s final episode, bringing things full circle); how did this particular song find its home here?

Again it was unexpected. ‘Space Junk’ was a bonus track we recorded for a Greatest Hits album in 1998. It’s a great song but received no attention at the time. Frank Darabont, the director of ‘The Walking Dead’, apparently loved the song and always imagined it as the music to the final scene of Episode 1. So we were very fortunate to once again have the attention of a great director.

‘Tazer Up’ brought an end to an almost 20 year hiatus, what focused the band to get back in the studio again?

Various business things came up in the mid-noughties. Nick stopped working in A&R and was therefore more available. I had done a couple of jazz records and so was more ready to do WANG CHUNG again. Nick and I remained great friends through the hiatus so it was nice to think about working together again. Plus we had a bunch of good songs lying around so recording them with Adam Wren (with whom we had recorded ‘Space Junk’) was an exciting prospect. And some touring opportunities came up, so fate drew us back on the WANG CHUNG trail.

‘Tazer Up’ has some superb songs on it; The Electricity Club’s favourites are ‘Let’s Get Along’ and ‘Rent Free’, has there been a typical songwriting process within the band?

Thank you! There isn’t a typical process. We rarely write together these days but we “get” each other and critique each other, make suggestions.

The ‘Grand Theft Auto’ computer game franchise seems to be the de rigueur way of introducing kids to classic pop music. How did you feel when ‘Dance Hall Days’ was featured on the Flash FM channel in ‘Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’ game and have you seen an impact on your fanbase by having it featured here?

Yes, it brought a whole new generation to our music. It was incredibly important in getting into that new generation’s consciousness and I’m sure is significant in accounting for the continuing popularity of 80’s music in movies and with new bands.

With streaming being the main outlet for public consumption of music these days, The Electricity Club has noticed that WANG CHUNG don’t have much material on platforms such as Spotify, is there a specific reason for this?

Neglect – but we are remedying this. This year will see the re-release of deluxe editions of all our albums from the 80’s including our first album, ‘Huang Chung’ and the noughties’ ‘Tazer Up!’ And of course our new orchestral album.

With MIDGE URE, A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS and VISAGE all bringing out orchestral albums, was there one particularly that influenced you to bring out your own?

We know Mike Score from A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS and he was enthusiastic about his experience. It just seemed a good thing to do in and of itself.

John Bryan who runs August Day, the label that has done these projects in the past is a good guy and drives us along to get things done. It’s been an enjoyable process and a fabulous opportunity.

What were the challenges of re-recording the songs for the album?

Singing them was a challenge! Nick and I wanted to really make use of the orchestra rather than doing the songs again with a band and having the orchestra in the background sounding like an expensive synthesizer. Some songs need the energy of the rhythm section but where it works we have let the orchestra take centre stage. Getting the arrangements right was a challenge.

WANG CHUNG have always had an electronic technology-based slant to their music, what sort of kit are you using at the moment, and how does it compare to what you were using back in the day?

With ‘Tazer Up!’, we consciously thought what makes an 80s record? And it’s basically mixing drum machines, synths and guitars. And these days the synths are there on every computer on the planet. It is actually easier to make an 80s record now than it was back in the day when everything was so expensive and difficult to use.

Out of all of the renditions on ‘Orchesography’, do you have a favourite?

We have done a new version of the original demo of ‘Everybody Have Fun Tonight’. We recorded the original on a little 4-track in Nick’s flat on Finchley Road using very basic sounds to emulate an orchestra. Now we’ve been able to realise that with the real thing and it sounds great.

The music industry has changed out of all recognition over three and a half decades, what are your feelings on where we are now with it?

There are lots of things I feel have been lost – music was the absolute centre of my life – still is, more so than ever – and was so for many people, but now it has been marginalised by, in my opinion, vastly inferior forms of creativity.

I also detest the way music is defined by “genre” these days when genres should be merely at the service of artists who are adventurous enough to want to soar way beyond such limitations.

But there are wonderful things about where we are now – I have released a “jazz” album recently – JACK HUES & THE QUARTET featuring Syd Arthur and a version of BECK’s ‘Nobody’s Fault But My Own’. We pressed up some vinyl, it’s on Spotify, we’re doing some gigs in April – so you can get your music out there, have total autonomy in a way that would be inconceivable back in the 80s. Reaching an audience is the challenge, but then it always was…

The Electricity Club gives its sincerest thanks to Jack Hues

Special thanks to Lisa Freeman at Quite Great PR

‘Orchesography’ is released by August Day Recordings in a variety of formats on 10th May 2019




Text and Interview by Paul Boddy
29th March 2019


Whoever came up with the idea of putting TEARS FOR FEARS and ALISON MOYET together on a concert bill was a total genius!

They each have scored six Top 10 UK singles and two No1 UK albums while also winning various BRIT Awards, all this without including Moyet’s stint in YAZOO with Vince Clarke which netted a further three Top 5 UK singles and a further No1 album!

Unsurprisingly at London’s O2 Arena, people started taking their seats early for ALISON MOYET’s eleven song opening set. Over the last six years, she has seen something of an artistic renaissance with her two most recent albums ‘the minutes’ and ‘Other’ showcasing a return to electronica, thanks to a new fruitful partnership with Guy Sigsworth.

Beginning with ‘I Germinate’ from ’Other’, there was a format change from that tour in 2017 with the inclusion of Paul Jones on electronic percussion alongside regular Moyet multi-instrumentalist Sean McGhee. As some of the audience pondered whether she would play any YAZOO material, Ms Moyet introduced a song that she wrote when she was just 16. With its iconic burst of synth, the crowd roared their approval for a the wonderfully melancholic ‘Nobody’s Diary’.

‘Beautiful Gun’, Moyet’s gusty attack on the NRA showed her old classmates in Basildon a thing or two about authentic blues while on ‘All Cried Out’, McGhee was particularly superb in his falsetto harmonisation with his boss’ deeper gutsy growl. Following on, ‘The Rarest Birds’ celebrated Moyet’s recent rejuvenation thanks to a relocation to Brighton while there was a surprise with a rendition of ‘The Sharpest Corner (Hollow)’ from 2007’s ‘The Turn’.

As the crowd held their breath for more YAZOO, Moyet delivered with ‘Situation’ as the first pockets of the audience cautiously stood up before a practically Vince Clarke faithful ‘Only You’ initiated the first massed singalong of the evening. The spectre of her former YAZOO bandmate continued to loom during a superb synthed-up arrangement of the saucy ‘Love Resurrection’, while the distinctive meaty tones of ‘Don’t Go’ put a now nearly full O2 on their feet with our heroine even pulling a few dance moves herself.

Of course, the crowd were there for TEARS FOR FEARS, but there was a time ten months ago when all that was thrown into doubt due to “unforeseen health concerns” which postponed the original May 2018 tour. More recently, Roland Orzabal undertook rehearsals with the band alone while Curt Smith made cryptic comments on social media about possibly not being on board and all not being well! Certainly their split back in 1990 was fractious.

However, the pair got back together in 2004 for the ‘Everybody Loves A Happy Ending’ album which attracted mixed responses from fans and critics alike, but re-established TEARS FOR FEARS in their classic duo guise.

The pair certainly didn’t mess about with the start of their biggest ever UK show, launching straight into ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ following a taped intro of Lorde’s cover version. One of the most perfect driving songs, Smith and Orzabal seemed to be in good spirits although any onstage chemistry between them was notably absent.

From ‘Everybody Loves A Happy Ending’, ‘Secret World’ featuring a section of Paul McCartney’s ‘Let ‘Em In’ went down well, the song getting better over the years like a fine wine. Continuing THE BEATLES themed vibe, the rousing ‘Sowing the Seeds Of Love’ also did the job.

Meanwhile the classic ‘Pale Shelter’ recalled the emotional angst that was part of TEARS FOR FEARS’ original appeal with drummer Jamie Wollam remaining largely faithful to the original, but providing the necessary dynamic bite for the occasion by substituting the programmed synthetic claps towards the end with snare rolls.

This approach didn’t work all night however, with Wollam having a bit of a Christian Eigner moment during ‘Memories Fade’ which did not suit the solemn electronic goth at all, but at least it was mercifully short!

‘Break It Down Again’ from the solo Orzabal incarnation of TEARS FOR FEARS got an airing but suffered from the quality of material around it. ‘Change’ got the squeaky audience vocal treatment but as mighty as ever, ‘Mad World’ had everyone mesmerised, although Orzabal eschewed his iconic jerky dance from the video which was often ridiculed but captured the song’s percussive intensity.

A huge surprise came with a stripped down piano version of ‘Suffer The Children’ sweetly sung by backing singer Carina Round; covered in more recent times by MARSHEAUX, the song certainly suits a female voice although Orzabal joined in for the closing title refrain.

Carina Round also did a wonderful job replicating Oleta Adam’s part in ‘Woman In Chains’ while Smith took the lead again on ‘Advice For the Young at Heart’.

Defeat was almost snatched from victory with the inclusion of the dreadfully self-indulgent ‘Badman’s Song’ which promoted much of the audience to sit down, but everything got back on track with the anthemic ‘Head Over Heels’ before the band left the stage to the frantic rock of ‘Broken’.

As the lights went down to tease an encore, the audience began to chant the chorus of ‘Shout’, a moment which Smith decided to capture on his phone as he returned. And with blood red visuals and shots of confetti, a brilliant performance of the lead track from ‘Songs From The Big Chair’ complete with Drumulator and live rhythmic interplay concluded a professionally slick presentation where the songs were the stars.

But it must be said that things appeared tense between Orzabal and Smith. There was certainly none of those hand on shoulder moments that are commonly associated with band mates but then, TEARS FOR FEARS have never been that kind of band.

That aside, it was fabulous that the pair were able to remind the wider public of their enduring catalogue and whatever the state of their personal relationship, the evening mostly delivered and entertained.

TEARS FOR FEARS rescheduled 2019 UK tour with special guest ALISON MOYET continues:

Leeds First Direct Arena (9th February), Glasgow SSE Hydro (11th February), Birmingham Genting Arena (12th February), Nottingham Motorpoint Arena (13th February)

Other UK dates in 2019 include:

London Hampton Court Palace (18th – 19th June), Northwich Delamere Forest (21st June), Woodstock Blenheim Palace (22nd June)





ALISON MOYET reunites with TEARS FOR FEARS at Munich Sommer Tollwood (12th July)





Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
7th February 2019


DUBSTAR are back and after eighteen years since their last album ‘Make It Better’, ‘One’ is their first long playing offering as a duo.

Now comprising of Sarah Blackwood and Chris Wilkie, with the guitarist now taking on the songwriting duties, the new numbers naturally have more of a six string slant although that wonderfully forlorn vocal presence is still very much there.

Having sat on the bridge between Britpop and Synth Britannia under the auspices of PET SHOP BOYS and NEW ORDER producer Stephen Hague for their debut album ‘Disgraceful’, ‘One’ has been produced by Youth, whose credits include CROWDED HOUSE, THE CHARLATANS, EMBRACE and THE VERVE.

Suitably melancholic, opening song ‘Love Comes Late’ sees Sarah Blackwood cynically pondering within a midlife narrative, at last finding love but being too old to truly appreciate it. With a live sounding drum feel and a superb synthetic bassline, this will please those who might have first discovered DUBSTAR via a ‘Shine’ compilation.

Psychedelic overtones linger all over ‘One’, especially on THE BEATLES-esque ‘Torched’ and ‘Please Stop Leaving Me Alone’ with its frenetic Hammond organ and Wilkie’s guitars… dare one even mention the ‘O’ word!

With trumpet from Michael Rendall who also contributes keyboards throughout ‘One’, the classic brass infused pop of ‘I Hold Your Heart’ takes Blackwood on Northern Soul journey but in the truest geographical sense.

‘Waltz No9’, the introspective synth-less tune that launched DUBSTAR’s return is the album’s ‘Just A Girl She Said’, while also maintaining the aura of classic DUBSTAR is ‘You Were Never In Love’, coming over all dreamy and uplifting despite its downcast tone.

The most electronic number on ‘One’ is the gorgeous ‘Locked Inside’, with elements of KRAFTWERK creeping in and even TEARS FOR FEARS as Blackwood tells of how “my hands are tied”; more of Roland and Curt’s spectre looms on the shuffling swing of the bittersweet ‘Why Don’t You Kiss Me?’

The lovely three-part vocal harmonic of ’Mantra’ punctuates another psychedelic flavoured number to close ‘One’, and it’s an brilliantly epic song that one could imagine John Lennon coming up with if he had collaborated with THE HOLLIES!

DUBSTAR’s appeal has always been their down-to-earth kitchen sink dramas and there are certainly no shortage of those on ‘One’.

With more of a guitar driven aesthetic, Blackwood and Wilkie have revitalised DUBSTAR and long standing fans who also loved ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Make It Better’ will not be disappointed at all with this long-awaited comeback album.

Is it asking too much to be given time? Not at all, the new DUBSTAR album has been well worth the wait.

‘One’ is released on 12th October 2018 by Northern Writes in CD, vinyl LP, cassette and digital formats, pre-order direct from https://dubstar.tmstor.es





Text by Chi Ming Lai
26th September 2018

ROOSEVELT Young Romance

‘Young Romance’ is the follow-up to ROOSEVELT’s first opus and it promises new levels of modern aesthetic euphoria based on the use of vintage synths and a step away from the dance directions previously enjoyed.

The work of Marius Lauber, this time around he wants it more synthpoppy with lighter, sunnier textures. Perhaps taking it from his brand new home studio in Cologne to the sunny skies of LA, and having it mixed by none other than Chris Coady finishes off the cycle ROOSEVELT embarked upon with his newest project.

Like any evolving artist, Lauber channels his confidence and re-lives past events in order to become clean: “I ended up processing a lot of emotions that I felt during my youth” he says, “faded relationships that haunted me for years, being on the road for what seemed like forever and the constant search of a place to call home.”

Having indeed toured North America for most of last year, the artist “covers the trials and tribulations of falling in love, finding ‘home’, going on tour and losing touch” all of which push him towards the great unknown.

‘Take Me Back’ which opens the album, only shares the title with the eponymous track heralding ERASURE’s glorious ‘I Say, I Say, I Say’. It’s more MORRISSEY meets TEARS FOR FEARS, in a light, enchanting way with its nostalgic elements weaved in effortlessly.

Sun filled nostalgia shines through the perfect chill out single ‘Under The Sun’. Eloquently produced, this track marries the melancholic voice approach with summer disco beats. In the style of the über popular DISCIPLES, this hits the spot beautifully before being transported into the world of ‘Yr Love’. With personal lyrics, simplified vocals and summer melody, we are served another little musical gem, this time polished to perfection, while still being an uncomplicated club anthem.

‘Illusions’ while having been finished last, is certainly not an afterthought. ROOSEVELT is playing with his new toys here, in the form of eBay bought vintage guitar pedals, psychedelic sounds and filter sweeps. He does the same on ‘Lucia’ and ‘Losing Touch’. “Losing Touch is about being on tour and losing perspective” he explains. “I spent an entire day recording guitar feedback through 5 different amps and the whole process was really therapeutic.”

The more subdued ‘Pangea’ shares its rhythmic footprint with the ballad-like ‘Better Days’, full of sentimental hooks and wistful, dreamy catches. Full pop on blues, with cleverly entwined guitar and nostalgic elements, this is like watching clouds roll by while resting on a canopy of leaves, dreaming away.

‘Shadows’ and ‘Last To Know’ continue the feeling of weightlessness, while ‘Forgive’ shows off ROOSEVELT’s international influences. This collaboration with WASHED OUT works wonders. “I saw Ernest followed me on Instagram and I was so happy to find out he was a fan. He has always been a massive influence and this track was written around the vocal stems he sent back within days – a real collaborative effort.”

The closing ‘Getaway’ is synthylicious and inspired, the perfect chill out tune after the San Antonio experience meets disco pop.

Considering that ‘Young Romance’ only took six months to finish, this follow up opus to ROOSEVELT’s debut is truly a hit.

With plenty of full bodied club tracks, produced with a mellow, near melancholic twist and some perfect chilled out Ibiza tunes, this album is a perfect end of summer treat.

‘Young Romance’ is released by Greco-Roman on 28th September 2018 in CD, vinyl LP and digital formats pre-order from https://iamroosevelt.bandcamp.com/album/young-romance





Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
Photo by David J East
15th September 2018


There are many bands from the Synth Britannia-era that are often perceived as being electronic, when in fact they either started off in a traditional band format and integrated synthesizers/sequencers or remained like that throughout most of their career.

ULTRAVOX, NEW ORDER and GARY NUMAN all fell into that format, but what about others who have successfully managed to meld the rigidity and coldness of electronics with the more human element of guitars.

This list aims to highlight tracks both vintage and more recent that give the listener the “best of both worlds” when it comes to an electronic and live band aesthetic. It is presented in chronological order with a restriction of one track per artist moniker…

ULTRAVOX All Stood Still (1980)

With the exception of ‘Mr X’ (and even that featured Billy Currie’s viola), all of the tracks on ‘Vienna’ featured live instrumentation of one form or another; whether it be Midge Ure’s guitar or Chris Cross’ live bass. Despite being underpinned by the band’s’ trademark Minimoog bass pulse and Currie’s squealing ARP Odyssey solo, ‘All Stood Still’ rocks pretty hard with Ure’s guitar running throughout in what would become the fourth single to be released from the album.

Available on the album ‘Vienna’ via EMI Music


VISAGE Visage (1980)

A hybrid of Giorgio Moroder electronics and heavy guitars, the song with its extended middle section showcases some truly wonderful interlocking sequencer parts. Despite some major axe-wielding done by Midge Ure and John McGeoch, there was still room for some Simmons drum rolls by RUSTY EGAN and a trademark BILLY CURRIE synth lead.

Available on the album ‘Visage’ via Polydor Records


JAPAN Quiet Life (1980)

‘Quiet Life’ which was originally the B-side to the UK single ‘I Second That Emotion’, only became a chart hit when it was released by Hansa Records to capitalize on the success of the ‘Tin Drum’ album. Featuring guitar work from Rob Dean (who used an E-Bow to achieve the long sustained notes on the track), he departed the band after the ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’ album when his guitar work started be regarded as superfluous to the band’s sound.

Available on the album ‘Quiet Life’ via Sony BMG


GARY NUMAN I Die: You Die (1980)

Combining Jupiter 4 arpeggiators, a Roland CR78 and chugging guitars, ‘I Die: You Die’ was a song written by Numan about the symbiotic relationship he had with the music press. Considering the track was a single, it was notable in that during its 3 and a half minute length, nearly half of the track was instrumental with a long intro and extended musical outro.

Available on the album ‘Premier Hits’ via Beggars Banquet


DURAN DURAN Careless Memories (1981)

Combining both of the signature electronic sounds from their eponymous debut, flanged sequencer and string synth, ‘Careless Memories’ also rocks because of Andy Taylor’s guitar which takes over the track from the second verse onwards, affirming The Guardian’s 2015 synopsis that DURAN DURAN were indeed “an electronic band with a heavy rock guitarist bolted on”.

Available on the album ‘Duran Duran’ via EMI Records



Although only charting at No42 in the UK charts, ‘Love My Way’ still remains a mainstay of New Wave / synth compilations from its era. Featuring Numan-inspired synths and a marimba played by track producer Todd Rundgren, the promo video was directed by Tim Pope who would go onto make his name as director of choice for THE CURE while guitarist John Ashton had a sideline producing THE SISTERS OF MERCY.

Available on the album ‘Forever Now’ via Sony Music


TEARS FOR FEARS Pale Shelter (1983)

TEARS FOR FEARS’ ‘Pale Shelter’ was released three separate times with an edit of the Mike Howlett produced version being made available after the success of the ‘Songs From the Big Chair’ album. The promo video for the Ross Cullum/Chris Hughes re-recording of the track is in turns both surreal and incomprehensible, but still doesn’t diminish the power of a song which combines acoustic guitars and electronics seamlessly.

Available on the album ‘Rule The World: The Greatest Hits’ via Universal Music


PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED The Order of Death (1984)

Notable for its use in the sci-fi film ‘Hardware’, ‘The Order of Death’ is a primarily instrumental piece with Floydian-influences and a mantra-like chant of “This is what you want, this is what you get” being the only featured vocal throughout. This atypical PiL track was arguably one of the better things about the film ‘Hardware’ which was a low-budget affair that owed more than a passing debt to ‘The Terminator’ and ‘Alien’, while it also latterly appeared in ‘The Blair Witch Project’.

Available on the album ‘This Is What You Want . . . This Is What You Get’ via Virgin Records


THE CURE Just Like Heaven (1987)

The glorious string synth melody helps this CURE track make it into the 25 of this listing. One of Robert Smith’s most covered songs, with interpretations ranging from a grunge guitar version by DINOSAUR JR through to one by the wildly inoffensive KATIE MELUA; what is less known is that an instrumental version of ‘Just Like Heaven’ was used as the theme music to the French TV programme ‘Les Enfants du Rock’, helping give the song a wider European exposure prior to its eventual release.

Available on the album ‘Greatest Hits’ via Fiction Records


DEPECHE MODE Personal Jesus (1990)

Despite courting controversy, ‘Personal Jesus’ was inspired by a book about ELVIS PRESLEY’s wife Priscilla; Martin Gore revealed to Spin Magazine: “It’s a song about being a Jesus for somebody else, someone to give you hope and care. It’s about how Elvis was her man and her mentor and how often that happens in love relationships; how everybody’s heart is like a god in some way. We play these god-like parts for people but no one is perfect, and that’s not a very balanced view of someone is it?”.

Available on the album ‘Violator’ via Mute Records


ELECTRONIC Get The Message (1991)

With a verse vocal melody scaringly similar to ABC’s ‘All of My Heart’, ‘Get The Message’ was the second single from the debut ELECTRONIC album. The Marr/Sumner collaboration cracked the Top 10 in 1991, but didn’t go down well with Melody Maker who described listening to the track as “Like watching a pony chew on a carrot for half an hour”!

Available on the album ‘Electronic’ via EMI Records


RAMMSTEIN Ich Will (2001)

With a synthetic introduction that sounds like a prime Violator-era DEPECHE MODE track, the song also features the twin guitar attack of Richard Kruspe and Paul Landers. Translated as “I want”, the track is noteworthy for the call and response section latterly in the piece, where RAMMSTEIN fans were recorded in an arena to get the epic and some might say, controversial Teutonic rally feel.

Available on the album ‘Made In Germany 1995-2011’ via Universal Music


NEW ORDER Crystal (2001)

There are countless NEW ORDER tracks that could feature on this list, in fact you could probably fill all 25 slots with their hybrid electronic / rock tracks. The ‘Crystal’ promotional video is notable for inspiring Brandon Flowers from THE KILLERS to name his act from the fictional band which mimes to the song has the name emblazoned on the drummer’s kick drum!

Available on the album ‘Singles’ via Rhino Records


MARILYN MANSON This Is The New Sh*t (2003)

‘This Is The New Sh*t’ takes a lyrically cynical swipe at over-obsessed music fans devotion to their favourite bands. The track combines glitchy synths, analogue step sequencers, a ‘When The Levee Breaks’-style drum pattern and a dynamic screamed chorus from MANSON. In one of music’s most unlikely (and inspired) pairings, GOLDFRAPP re-interpreted the track with Alison adding a wonderful 20s influenced outro replete with her interpretation of the sweary vocals.

Available on the album ‘Hot Fuss’ via Interscope Records


THE KILLERS Somebody Told Me (2004)

With an opening 20 second blitzkrieg of synths and guitars, ‘Somebody Told Me’ needed a couple of releases for it to become a decent chart hit in the UK. Amusingly described by singer and keyboardist Brandon Flowers as “‘Rio’ with chest hair”, the song eventually reached No3 in the UK singles charts when it was re-released in 2005.

Available on the album ‘Hot Fuss’ via Lizard King Records


THE BRAVERY An Honest Mistake (2005)

American act THE BRAVERY actually won ‘BBC Sound Of 2005’ and had a Top 10 single with their debut track ‘An Honest Mistake’, but unfortunately weren’t able to follow it up. Successfully merging sequenced synths and NEW ORDER-style guitars, the band also secured the support slot on DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Touring The Angel’ set of live shows but ditched the synths by their lukewarm second album ‘The Sun & The Moon’.

Available on the album ‘The Bravery’ via Polydor Records


METRIC Poster Of A Girl (2005)

Led by Emily Haines, Canadian combo METRIC and their ‘Poster Of A Girl’ features a mixture of fizzing monosynths that evoke those used on THE CURE’s ‘Seventeen Seconds’ and ‘Faith’. The song’s deliciously filthy lyrics and seedy video combine to make this track a classic hybrid of guitars and synthesizers.

Available on the ‘Live It Out’ album via Last Gang Recodes



‘Only’ breaks all the rules of song structuring (the listener has to wait a full two minutes and eighteen seconds before the chorus hook comes in) and showcases a video promo which owes more than a passing debt to MIDGE URE’s ‘If I Was’. The song itself has one of those signature Reznor synth parts that immediately identifies it as a NIN track and combines this with sequencers and guitars to great effect.

Available on the album ‘With Teeth’ via Interscope Records


INFECTED MUSHROOM Smashing The Opponent (2009)

It would be easy to dismiss Israel’s INFECTED MUSHROOM as an EDM / Psytrance act, but dig a little deeper and you will hear a multitude of influences. ‘Smashing The Opponent’ featuring vocals from Jonathan Davis of KORN, owes a major debt to DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Behind the Wheel’. A superb sequenced synth bassline drives the track along whilst a mixture of clean and distorted guitars help give the track an added live dimension & power that electronics alone would struggle to manage.

Available on the album ‘Legend Of The Black Shawarma’ via Perfecto Records


MUSE Uprising (2009)

An unholy mix of the ‘Dr Who’ theme, ‘White Wedding’ by BILLY IDOL, ‘Call Me’ by BLONDIE and the BLACK SABBATH track ‘Children of the Grave’, ‘Uprising’ saw MUSE bring synths to the fore with this GOLDFRAPP-inspired schaffel stomp from the album ‘The Resistance’. The similarity with the BLONDIE song resulted in Debbie Harry and co mashing up the two songs when playing live.

Available on the album ‘The Resistance’ via Warner Music


WHITE LIES E.S.T. (2009)

One of the standout tracks from their debut album ‘To Lose My Life’, ‘E.S.T.’ was inspired by Electric Shock Therapy, the form of medical treatment that was given to WHITE LIES bass player Charles Cave’s mentally ill great grandmother. The track combines U2 style guitar lines and bombastic synths with Harry McVeigh’s Julian Cope aping vocal style to great effect.

Available on the album ‘To Lose My Life’ via Fiction Records


KORN featuring SKRILLEX + KILL THE NOISE Narcissistic Cannibal (2011)

From the ‘When KORN went Dubstep’ phase, with SKRILLEX on production duties and synths/programming. The Electricity Club vividly remembers the general confusion which greeted KORN when they unveiled their new electronic direction in 2012; the act played Brixton Academy supported by Dubstep act DOWNLINK and a DJ set from frontman Jonathan Davis, much to the general bemusement of the band’s hard core fans.

Available on the album ‘The Path Of Totality’ via Roadrunner Records.


IAMX I Come With Knives (2013)

With a German lullaby-style intro vocal, ‘I Come With Knives’ has a pretty low-key start until the listener is dragged screaming and kicking into the chorus with Chris Corner’s histrionic vocals at times evoking MUSE’s Matt Bellamy. The track successfully combines live drums, guitars and synths and is a definite standout in the IAMX catalogue.

Available on the album ‘The Unified Field’ via IAMX


BATTLE TAPES Valkyrie (2015)

The standout track from LA-based BATTLE TAPES’ debut album ‘Polygon’. ‘Valkyrie’ is a brilliant merging of rock band dynamics and sequenced electronic elements. Lyrically the song is one of those that the listener can analyse countless times and still not have a clue what it’s all about (…and that’s a good thing).

Available on the album ‘Polygon’ via Battle Tapes


VOX LOW Something Is Wrong (2015)

Taking their cues from JOY DIVISION but welding them to a dance music aesthetic, France’s VOX LOW’s epic 8 and a half minute single ‘Something Is Wrong’ is a slow builder with wonderfully quirky lyrics about patching synths and flangers. “You plug the wire… not the good wire…”

Available on the single ‘Something Is Wrong’ via Correspondant 35


Text by Paul Boddy
13th January 2018

« Older posts