Tag: Thomas Dolby (Page 2 of 5)

LLOYD COLE Guesswork

 

It was Maurice Ravel who once said: “Whatever sauce you put around the melody is a matter of taste. What is important is the melodic line”.

What Lloyd Cole has always managed within his songs throughout his career, be it ‘Perfect Skin’, ‘Rattlesnakes’, ‘Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?, ‘Brand New Friend’ or ‘Like Lovers Do’ is strong melodic lines. Coupled with his bittersweet lyricism, he has been one of the UK’s leading exponents of masterful glum rock. But for ‘Guesswork’, he has put synthesizers and drum machines into his textural palette.

Cole actually first experimented with synthesizers and songs on 1993’s ‘Bad Vibes’, but considering it an artistic failure, it led to the songsmith keeping his future electronic interests purely instrumental and his songwriting traditional, and “never the twain shall meet”.

Cole eventually recorded an experimental album ‘Selected Studies Volume 1’ with German legend Hans-Joachim Roedelius of CLUSTER in 2013. Released by Bureau B, custodians of the iconic Sky Records back catalogue, there was also a solo instrumental collection entitled ‘1D Electronics 2012-2014’.

Self-produced in Massachusetts and mixed by German producer Olaf Opal, despite reuniting with two former Commotions bandmates Neil Clark and Blair Cowan for the first time since 1987’s ‘Mainstream’, ‘Guesswork’ focusses on synthesizers and programming. Referencing CHINA CRISIS and PREFAB SPROUT, Cole has also expressed a love of SUICIDE, ULTRAVOX, PET SHOP BOYS and LCD SOUNDSYSYTEM.

Certainly the application of his synthesizer knowhow became fully realised for the album’s wonderful first single ‘Violins’. On first impression, Cole appears to have turned into OMD, but the man himself cites Robert Palmer’s cult electronic pop favourite ‘Johnny & Mary’ as its main inspiration, especially in its incessant synthbass and Motorik backbone. The violin is often seen as a symbol of self-pity and while the move might have surprised his regular fanbase, ‘Violins’ did include a hefty guitar solo at its conclusion to not totally alienate them.

Not in a dissimilar vein to ‘Violins’, the shimmering ‘Moments & Whatnots’ is the most KRAFTWERK-esque of the eight tracks on ‘Guesswork’, with its simplistic electronic percussion and synthetic sparkles recalling ‘Neon Lights’. But as a song and in its afflicted delivery, it couldn’t really be anyone else but Lloyd Cole.

However, the biggest surprise comes with ‘When I Came Down From The Mountain’, a bouncy drumbox driven synthpop number. With jazzier electronic inflections that Thomas Dolby would have been proud of, its chorus even nods towards the era of Dolby-produced PREFAB SPROUT.

Meanwhile with some kosmische modular sequencing, ‘Night Sweats’ utilises a pentatonic aesthetic that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on an early CHINA CRISIS record, although some eagle-eared listeners will point a finger towards THE CLASH’s ‘Straight To Hell’.

But ‘Guesswork’ begins with an almost silent ambient drone; while in ‘Stranger Things’, they fear ‘The Upside Down’, Cole muses hauntingly about the aura of ‘The Over Under’.

Meanwhile on the cinematic ‘Remains’, synths beautifully substitute for orchestrations and brass arrangements in the manner of THE BLUE NILE. These songs cleverly offer the new electronic direction without being too threatening, a subtle change of sauce without ruining anyone’s appetite.

Decorated with some great E-bowed six string, the solemn swinging overtures of ‘The Afterlife’ show that Cole has learnt from John Grant, probably the best known modern day defector from the traditional to the electronic, while ‘The Loudness Wars’ provides a relatable metaphor to the breakdown of a relationship in a fine hybrid synth and guitar closer, swathed in glorious midlife angst.

Yes, his poetic melancholy does remain, but as Lloyd Cole recently said: “Now I’m starting to think that old age could be a lot more fun. Because really what have we got to lose?”

After all, how many veteran singer-songwriter guitarists decide that electronics are the way to go? Whether long-standing enthusiasts or new admirers, many will find a lot of joy within Lloyd Cole’s sophisticated artistic diversion on ‘Guesswork’.


‘Guesswork’ is released by earMUSIC in CD, vinyl LP and digital formats

http://www.lloydcole.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Lloyd.Cole.1961

https://twitter.com/Lloyd_Cole

https://open.spotify.com/album/5lyyYxXn40x0f7ODFVgzS3


Text by Chi Ming Lai
27th July 2019

DISQO VOLANTE Yellow Fervor


DISQO VOLANTE is Korean-American multi-instrumentalist Matthew Booth, a man who loves his synthpop, but also his sax!

Following his debut EP ‘Re: Lit’ in 2016, Booth’s latest offering is a five track affair entitled ‘Yellow Fervor’; having learned some lessons from some of the more overdriven aspects of that first release, ‘Yellow Fervor’ has better production values and adds a funkier twist to proceedings.

This twist comes over like a cross between PRINCE and YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA, coming to the fore on the brilliant and appropriately Batman themed ‘Gotham City’.

A fascinating mix of East meets West over synths and sax, DISQO VOLANTE exhibits a highly unusual and unique sound. But beginning with the ‘Yellow Fervor’, the PRINCE influence is loud and clear from the off, with Booth coming over vocally like a more assured Yukihiro Takashashi, while augmented by lashings of sax.

Glistening with synth arpeggios, ‘Your Princess Is In Another Castle’ sees Booth use vocoder treatments and the blip of a Casio VL-Tone for a more obviously electro offering with the sax slightly more restrained.

The house-flavoured pop of ‘Net Loss’ is an interesting diversion with the sax integrated seamlessly like NEW ORDER’s ‘Round & Round’ taking a slight jazzier diversion towards fellow Mancs A CERTAIN RATIO, with the unexpected presence of a rock guitar solo just to add to the fun!

Meanwhile, ‘Seoul’d Out’ is the most eccentric song on the EP, reminiscent of Thomas Dolby in his more bonkers moments. While this is not ‘Hyperactive’, the freeform nature of ‘Seoul’d Out’ impresses with its musicality if nothing else

Quite what listeners will make of the ‘Yellow Fervour’ EP is anyone’s guess but boring it isn’t.

For the crazy genre blends and uses of seemingly incongruous modes of instrumentation, DISQO VOLANTE deserves an award, or a straitjacket, or something 😉


‘Yellow Fervor’ is available as a download EP from https://disqovolante.bandcamp.com/album/yellow-fervor

http://disqovolante.com/

https://www.facebook.com/disqovolante/

https://twitter.com/DISQOVOLANTE

https://www.instagram.com/disqovolante/

https://soundcloud.com/disqo-volante


Text by Chi Ming Lai
9th April 2018

THE FALLOUT CLUB Dangerous Friends

THE FALL OUT CLUB may have only released three singles in their brief existence, but have become one of those bands that have fallen into cult legend over the years.

Featuring singer Trevor Herion, drummer Paul Simon, bassist Matthew Seligman and a young synthesizer upstart named Thomas Dolby, the intensity of their best song ‘Dream Soliders’ from 1981 captured the anxiety and tribulations of young manhood in a manner not dissimilar to Northern English acts of the period such as THE WILD SWANS, HAMBI & THE DANCE, BOX OF TOYS, BLACK and FIAT LUX.

And now, Paul Simon has reissued six songs that originally appeared on THE FALLOUT CLUB’s three singles as ‘Dangerous Friends’, a mini-album bolstered by a number of remixes featuring the addition of his brother one-time ULTRAVOX member Robin Simon on guitar and vocalist Gina Watson.

Swathed in synths and attached to a precise militaristic beat, ‘Dream Soliders’ was produced by Thomas Dolby and saw Herion give a mournful majestic vocal which reflected a battle with depression that haunted him throughout his short life.

Meanwhile solely composed by Dolby, the B-side ‘Pedestrian Walkway’ utilised pulsing sequencers married to a stark electro-funk backdrop and some afflicted vocalisation from Herion.

But THE FALLOUT CLUB began in 1980 with just Herion and Simon on the debut single ‘The Falling Years’. It was a drum machine propelled cocoon of sound with vocals recalling Russell Mael of SPARKS. It was something that ‘Desert Song’, the slightly overwrought B-side of ‘Wonderlust’ also had lingering within it.

Their third single ‘Wonderlust’, co-written with Thomas Dolby, saw a big leap in sound quality thanks to Dolby’s production skills and came with a dramatic Spaghetti Western flavour, lushly sculpted using electronics.

Although THE FALLOUT CLUB disbanded, Dolby found success as an artist in his own right in 1982 and Trevor Herion secured a solo deal with Interdisc, a subsidiary of Island Records.

With CULTURE CLUB producer Steve Levine on board, the melodic promise shown in THE FALLOUT CLUB looked like it might be fully realised, but the album ‘Beauty Life’ released in 1983 was unable to gain traction due to a lack of hit singles, despite the rich quality of the Chanson influenced ‘Kiss Of No Return’ and the Ferry-esque ‘Love Chains’.

Eventually overcome with severe depression, Herion sadly took his own life in October 1988.

So in a fitting tribute, the new versions of ‘Dream Soldiers’ and ‘Pedestrian Walkway’ with extra guitar and female vocals add more eerie textures to the space freed up by the cleaned up mixes.

While ‘Dangerous Friends’ still sounds comparatively rough by 21st Century standards, the important thing is that these songs are readily available again to hear, especially the wondrous lost classic that is ‘Dream Soldiers’.


Dedicated to the memory of John Trevor Herion 1959 – 1988

‘Dangerous Friends’ is released by Stratotester Records and available digitally via the usual online outlets

http://www.ajantamusic.com/Albums.aspx

https://www.discogs.com/artist/685999-The-Fallout-Club

https://open.spotify.com/album/1fsFxtYGgGUMcjJVIiKiYH


Text by Chi Ming Lai
29th August 2017

BRUCE WOOLLEY & POLLY SCATTERGOOD Video Killed The Radio Star

Featuring the haunting afflicted vocals of Essex songstress Polly Scattergood, Bruce Woolley reimagines his classic ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ in a new epic arrangement with the fitting subtitle of ‘Dark Star’…

Recorded with THE RADIO SCIENCE ORCHESTRA, Woolley introduces them with the proclamation: “Listen to The Sound of Tomorrow – Today!”

A number co-written with Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, Bruce Woolley recorded ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ first with his band THE CAMERA CLUB in 1979 and originally released as the B-side to the single ‘English Garden’. But it was THE BUGGLES featuring Horn and Downes who scored the UK No1 in a version with slightly different lyrics later that Autumn.

The song was to become prophetic and when MTV launched in August of 1981, the very first music video broadcast on the new channel was ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’. Fast forward to 2017 and while radio maintains a presence via the internet, video continues to rule via platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo.

The spacey monochromatic visual accompaniment for ‘Video Killed The Radio Star (Dark Star)’ sees Scattergood clad like Barbarella in thigh length boots, while enticingly twiddling with an EMS VCS3 in the ultimate homage to retro-futurism and vintage Sci-Fi. She said in an interview with ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK in 2014: “I have always been fascinated by electronics. When I made my first album, although I enjoyed experimenting, it was all fairly new to me. But by the time I made ‘Arrows’, I guess I felt more confident in the sound I wanted to make”. 

Polly Scattergood is no stranger to cover versions, having previously offered reinterpretations of ‘Hurt’, ‘New York, New York’, ‘The Look Of Love’, ‘Comfortably Numb’ and ‘Only You’ in her various guises. Meanwhile, THE RADIO SCIENCE ORCHESTRA sees Woolley reunited with Thomas Dolby who played keyboards with THE CAMERA CLUB.


‘Video Killed The Radio Star (Dark Star)’ is released as a download single by Gramophone Records

http://www.radioscience.com/

http://www.pollyscattergood.com/

https://www.facebook.com/brucewoolleyhq/

https://www.facebook.com/polly.scattergood/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
6th March 2017

25 CLASSIC STANDALONE SYNTH SINGLES

The single is the lifeblood of pop music, serving the purpose of a trailer to an artist’s new album or as an entity on its own.

The non-album single first came to prominence with THE BEATLES and THE WALKER BROTHERS, but as rock music in particular got more serious, bands like PINK FLOYD and LED ZEPPELIN looked down on the shorter format, refusing to even release singles and focussing only on albums.

With punk and new wave, acts like THE JAM, THE CLASH and SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES frequently issued standalone singles, often as a document of developing ideals or even to indulge in the occasional cover version. But others like IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS saw it as statement of not ripping-off their audience by effectively making them buy the same song twice.

All the singles listed here were released in 7 inch format and not included on any of the artist’s original edition albums in the UK. Songs that were singles to promote compilation albums, remix collections or films are permitted, but singles by bands that did not actually get round to releasing a full length album are not included.

So here are ELECTRICITYCLUB’CO.UK’s 25 Classic Standalone Synth Singles presented in chronological, and then alphabetical order.


FAD GADGET Ricky’s Hand (1980)

The unsettling second single by former Leeds Polytechnic art student Frank Tovey was a commentary on the dangers of drink driving as “Ricky contravened the Highway Code”. Featuring an electric drill alongside assorted synths and industrial rhythms, ‘Ricky’s Hand’ was not included on the debut FAD GADGET long player ‘Fireside Favourites’ that came out a few months later, but it helped establish Mute Records’ credentials as an early champion of independent electronic music.

Now available on the album ‘The Best Of’ via Mute Records

http://www.fadgadget.co.uk


JOHN FOXX Miles Away (1980)

JOHN FOXX Miles AwayJohn Foxx’s first release after the ‘Metamatic’ period recalled his twilight years with ULTRAVOX and in particular ‘Slow Motion’. Featuring live drums from Edward Case, guitars were replicated by treated layers of ARP Odyssey. While not as accomplished as ‘Slow Motion’, ‘Miles Away’ was a worthy transitional recording although where Foxx headed next was the more romantic and band oriented textures of ‘The Garden’.

Now available on the album ’20th Century: The Noise’ via Metamatic Records

http://www.metamatic.com/


JAPAN I Second That Emotion (1980)

Japan - I Second That EmotionWith JAPAN not making any headway in the UK singles charts, their manager Simon Napier-Bell felt the only solution was to doa cover version. David Sylvian visited his parents’ Motown collection and the song he chose was a lively Smokey Robinson number. Slowed down and given a more arty Ferry-ish treatment, ‘I Second That Emotion’ was not a hit on its original release, but the world belatedly caught up when a remixed reissue reached No11 in 1982.

Now available on the album ‘‘The Very Best Of’ via Virgin Records


JOY DIVISION Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)

Joy_Division_-_Love_Will_Tear_Us_ApartWith a haunting string line from an ARP Omni, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ was the posthumous hit single that documented the relationship turmoil which JOY DIVISION’s lead singer Ian Curtis was facing prior to his suicide. The initial attempt at recording had been much faster and tighter, but producer Martin Hannett slowed the band down and suggested Curtis take on a more Sinatra based drawl. The looser end result added further poignancy.

Now available on the album ‘Substance’ via Rhino

http://joydivisionofficial.com/


GARY NUMAN I Die: You Die (1980)

GARY NUMAN I Die You DieA  statement on his fractious relationship with the press, incessant riffs, flanged guitar and swooping Polymoog provided melody, grit and tension in equal measures. Meanwhile, real drums and a Roland Compurhythm combined to provide a solid but unusual backbone. It was not included on the original LP version of ‘Telekon’, but did feature on the cassette. Numan felt he was giving value to his fans, but casual followers didn’t buy the album as a result and it affected wider sales momentum.

Now available on the album ‘Premier Hits’ via Beggars Banquet

http://www.garynuman.co.uk/


THE BLUE NILE I Love This Life (1981)

TheBlueNile+ILoveThisLife‘I Love This Life’ was the first release from THE BLUE NILE and the esoteric template that later emerged on ‘A Walk Across The Rooftops’ was already omnipresent. Rawer and more aggressive than songs like ‘Stay’ and ‘Tinseltown In The Rain’, this was a fine opening gambit from the enigmatic Glaswegian trio who had met at university. Originally self-released, the single was picked up by RSO who promptly folded after its re-release.

Now available on the deluxe edition album ‘A Walk Across The Rooftops’ via Virgin Records

http://www.thebluenile.net


THE CURE Charlotte Sometimes (1981)

THE CURE Charlotte SometimesSmothered in ARP Quartet and electronic drums but maintaining the claustrophobic feel of that year’s ‘Faith’ album, the haunting ‘Charlotte Sometimes’ co-produced by Mike Hedges was an interim 45 prior to the doomfest of ‘Pornography’. The band’s potential for success now looked like a real threat as The Raincoat Brigade seeked out a successor to JOY DIVISION. But in late 1982, THE CURE lightened up for the first of their fantasy singles, ‘Let’s Go to Bed’.

Now available on the album ‘Staring At The Sea’ via Fiction Records

http://www.thecure.com/


HEAVEN 17 I’m Your Money (1981)

Following the politically charged electro-funk of ‘(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang’, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh returned to their roots in THE HUMAN LEAGUE with the more exclusively synth driven ‘I’m Your Money’. The multi-lingual phrases highlighted an expanding world market while Glenn Gregory provided commentary on how personal relationships were like business transactions.

12 inch version now available on the album ‘Penthouse & Pavement’ via Virgin Records

http://www.heaven17.com


JON & VANGELIS I’ll Find My Way Home (1981)

JON&VANGELIS I'll Find My Way HomeHaving scored an unexpected UK hit with the beautiful synth laden ‘I Hear You Now’, Jon & Vangelis did it again with ‘I’ll Find My Way Home’, a song that had not been originally included on their second album ‘The Friends Of Mr Cairo’. Jon Anderson’s lyrics were almost spiritual while the widescreen sonic backing from his Greek chum complimented the mood. Vangelis himself was about to enter his most high profile period with ‘Chariots Of Fire’ and ‘Blade Runner’.

Now available on the album ‘The Friends Of Mr Cairo’ via Polydor Records / Universal Music

https://www.facebook.com/VangelisOfficial/


CHINA CRISIS Scream Down At Me (1982)

CHINA CRISIS Scream Down At MeIt’s strange to think now that when CHINA CRISIS first emerged with ‘African & White’, they were quite uptempo and percussive, influenced by TALKING HEADS and MAGAZINE. ‘Scream Down At Me’ was unusual in many respects, being more dynamic than most of the material that featured on their debut album ‘Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms…’; the single showcased a degree of frantic art funk tension that was never to be repeated by the band.

Now available on the album ‘Ultimate Crisis’ via Music Club Deluxe

http://www.facebook.com/pages/China-Crisis/295592467251068


THOMAS DOLBY She Blinded Me With Science (1982)

Following the cult success of his debut album ‘The Golden Age Of Wireless’, Thomas Dolby sent up the mad scientist image he had accquired by actually employing a real mad scientist in Doctor Magnus Pyke for his next single. Produced by Tim Friese-Greene, this slice of gloriously eccentric synthpop had been recorded as a non-LP one-off, but its chart success in America led to ‘She Blinded Me With Science’ being appended to the album.

Now available on the album ‘The Golden Age Of Wireless’ via EMI Music


http://www.thomasdolby.com


SOFT CELL What! (1982)

SOFT CELL What‘What!’ effectively bookended Marc Almond and Dave Ball’s imperial pop period which had started with ‘Tainted Love’. Another song that came via the Northern Soul scene, it was originally recorded by Judy Street and had more than a passing resemblance to ‘Always Something There To Remind Me’. The recording was quickly disowned and was to be SOFT CELL’s last Top10 single before the duo entered much darker musical territory and on the path to ‘Mr Self Destruct’.

Now available on the album ‘Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret’ via Phonogram / Universal Music

http://www.softcell.co.uk


YAZOO The Other Side Of Love (1982)

An occasional trait of standalone singles was how they were often quickly recorded and rush-released, due to an impending tour or greatest hits. In the case of YAZOO, it was the former. One of only three co-writes by Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke, this bright if almost forgettable tune has been described by Moyet as “hateful”. However, ‘The Other Side of Love’ allowed Clarke to put his new Fairlight CMI through its paces, while a gospel flavour came from SYLVIA & THE SAPPHIRES.

Now available on the album ‘The Collection’ via Music Club Deluxe

http://www.yazooinfo.com/


DURAN DURAN Is There Something I Should Know? (1983)

DURAN DURAN_is_there_something_i_should_knowReleased in the interim between the ‘Rio’ and ‘Seven & The Ragged Tiger’ albums, ‘Is There Something I Should Know?’ was a cynical attempt to ensure DURAN DURAN got a UK No1. Nick Rhodes made it clear the song was not going to be on the next album while completely different versions featured on the 7 and 12 inch formats. This synth laden single featured that dreadfully unforgettable line “You’re about as easy as a nuclear war”!

Now available on the album ‘Greatest’ via EMI Music

http://www.duranduran.com


THE HUMAN LEAGUE Fascination (1983)

HUMAN LEAGUE FascinationTHE HUMAN LEAGUE were in limbo after the departure of producer Martin Rushent from the sessions to record a follow-up to the massive selling ‘Dare’. A song he worked on was prepared for single release to buy the band some extra time. Subsequently remixed by Chris Thomas, ‘Fascination’ featured a charming four way call-and-response vocal while the huge use of portamento on the lead synth line fooled buyers into returning their singles to the shops thinking it was warped!

Now available on the album ‘Greatest Hits’ via Virgin Records

http://www.thehumanleague.com


KRAFTWERK Tour De France (1983)

KRAFTWERK Tour De FranceBorrowed from Paul Hindemith’s ‘Heiter Bewegt – Sonate Für Flöte Und Klavier’ composed in 1936, an Emulator was used to synchronise voices and mechanical sounds to a marvellous electronic percussion pattern. ‘Tour De France’ successfully reinforced KRAFTWERK’s credibility within Urban America. But feeling left behind in comparison to THE ART OF NOISE, Ralf Hütter demanded their upcoming ‘Technopop’ album to be reworked with a Synclavier’…

Alternate 2003 version now available on the album ‘Tour De France Soundtracks’ via EMI Music

http://www.kraftwerk.com


ROBERT GÖRL Mit Dir (1984)

Dark and brooding, the debut single from the DAF drummer became a highly regarded cult classic. The slow stark Teutonic electro of ‘Mit Dir’ was considerably less harsh than his band’s pioneering electronic body music. Although not featured on Görl’s first solo album ‘Night Full Of Tension’, ‘Mit Dir’ did much to help lighten his mood considerably that he was attempting synthpop with EURYTHMICS’ Annie Lennox on songs like ‘Darling Don’t Leave Me’.

12 inch version now available on the album ‘Night Full Of Tension’ via Mute Records

http://www.robert-goerl.de


ULTRAVOX Love’s Great Adventure (1984)

Ultravox-Loves_Great_AdventureULTRAVOX had a run of 11 successive Top30 singles in their classic Midge Ure-fronted incarnation so when ‘The Collection’ was being prepared by Chrysalis Records, the band suggested including a new track which was an unusual move for the time. Based on a demo rejected by Levi’s for an ad campaign, the huge symphonic pomp of ‘Loves Great Adventure’ was a brilliantly glorious statement with Billy Currie’s OSCar interventions being its undoubted musical highlight.

Now available on the album ‘The Very Best Of’ via EMI Records

http://www.ultravox.org.uk


DEPECHE MODE Shake The Disease (1985)

DEPECHE MODE Shake The DiseaseAn important interim single for DEPECHE MODE, ‘Shake The Disease’ was the bridge between the industrial flavoured synthpop of ‘Some Great Reward’ and the darker aesthetics of ‘Black Celebration’. Much more accomplished  than the more throwaway standalones like ‘It’s Called A Heart’ and ‘But Not Tonight’ which followed, ‘Shake The Disease’ continues to be performed live at DM shows in a less interesting stripped down form with Martin Gore on lead vocals.

Now available on the album ‘The Singles 81-85’ via Mute Records

http://www.depechemode.com


SIMPLE MINDS Don’t You (1985)

SIMPLE MINDS Don't YouWith ambitions to break the US market, SIMPLE MINDS were offered a song written by Steve Chiff and producer Keith Forsey for a John Hughes movie ‘The Breakfast Club’. The song had already been rejected by Billy Idol and Bryan Ferry, so was reluctantly recorded by the band at a studio in Wembley. With the right balance of synths and FM rock, ‘Don’t You’ became an unexpected American No1 on the back of the movie’s success and took Jim Kerr and Co into the stadiums of the world.

Now available on the album ‘Celebrate: The Greatest Hits’ via Virgin Records

http://www.simpleminds.com


SPARKS Change (1985)

Sparks-ChangePost-Moroder, SPARKS had returned Stateside to hone a more rock-orientated sound. But they returned to their more eccentric side with ‘Change’, a one-off for London Records. Engineered by Dan Lacksman of TELEX, it featured a sonic passage that would have made Trevor Horn proud. Lines such as “I’ve been thinking we’ll get back together again someday – your hair will be some weird color by then…” reminded European audiences of how quirky SPARKS could be.

Now available on the album ‘New Music For Amnesiacs – The Essential Collection’ via Lil Beethoven Records

http://www.allsparks.com


OMD If You Leave (1986)

Love it or loathe it, OMD’s contribution to the ‘Pretty In Pink’ soundtrack was a massive US hit and the reason why youngsters are still discovering the band. Produced by Tom Lord-Alge, while the Fairlight assisted sound appears at odds with Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey’s pioneering synthpop, the intro of ‘If You Leave’ actually follows a chord progression very similar to ‘Enola Gay’. Interestingly, the song failed to enter the Top40 on its release in the UK.

Now available on the album ‘Messages’ via Virgin Records

http://www.metamatic.com


NEW ORDER Touched By The Hand Of God (1987)

NEW ORDER Touched By The Hand Of GodWhen NEW ORDER issued their ‘Substance’ 12 inch singles collection, 9 out of its 12 songs had not featured on their previous albums. The Diego Maradona inspired ‘Touched By The Hand Of God’ is one of the Mancunian’s combo’s more underrated singles. With a synth riff borrowed from Shannon’s ‘Let The Music Play’, it successfully combined some gritty rock energy to a solid Italo disco backbone featuring a great sequenced bassline.

Now available on the album ‘Singles’ via Rhino

http://www.neworder.com


ERASURE Stop! (1988)

ERASURE Crackers InternationalRecorded for the ‘Crackers International’ EP between ‘The Innocents’ and ‘Wild!’, ‘Stop!’ was a throbbing Moroder-inspired disco tune that borrowed counter-melodies from Donna Summer’s ‘Love’s Unkind’. Independent labels such as Mute and Factory were more likely to indulge in releases that weren’t specifically tied in to albums, and it proved to be a perfect move to maintain ERASURE’s profile while they were preparing their next plan of action.

Now available on the album ‘Total Pop! The First 40 Hits’ via Mute Records

http://www.erasure.com


PET SHOP BOYS Where The Streets Have No Name (1991)

PET SHOP BOYS Where The Streets Have No NameChris Lowe felt that the opener on U2’s ‘The Joshua Tree’ would make a good HI-NRG track. A cheeky send-up of how Bono and Co would often drop snippets of covers into live versions, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’ made famous by Andy Williams was segued into ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’. It all seemed so camp and ridiculous in the video when Neil Tennant was singing it wearing a Stetson, but then in 1992, out popped Bono doing something similar on their ‘Zoo TV’ tour!

Now available on the album ‘Pop Art’ via EMI Music

http://www.petshopboys.co.uk/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
2nd August 2016

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