I am happy to say that the reviewers were right on; what a treasure this album is! And it's a wonderful time capsule as well! These songs were produced between 1982 - 1984, however they were never released until about 1999. The magic is the songs don't sound dated. Vince Clarke produced this album, and he and E.C. Radcliffe did the programming. This album has been compared to sounding like early Depeche Mode and Yaz/Yazoo, but I think it's more similar in sound to "The Circus"-era Erasure.
I'm not sure why no record company (Mute??) wouldn't have picked up these songs and ran with them; the 80s would have been THE time to have released these songs. However I'm not sure how these songs would have fared without Vince C.'s touches and studio wizardry because there aren't really any strong individual singles. Don't get me wrong; all of the songs are great, it's just that all of the songs are pretty consistent and nothing really stands out as "the song you must hear."
My favorites are "Calling All Destroyers", "The Face Of Dorian Gray", "Ambition" and "Crying For The Moon", which has a "1950s meets Synth-Pop" feel. I find myself starting to sing "Great Balls Of Fire" whenever I hear this song; clearly the most fun song on the album.
This album is worthy of five out of five stars; it's not too long (a little over 37 minutes), and I believe it stands up well next to "Speak & Spell", "Upstairs At Eric's" and "Wonderland." I gave it four stars, partly because I'm not able to rate it 4 1/2, but also because of my own minor quibbles. The first one I previously mentioned - I can't decide if I am captivated by the songs themselves or simply by Vince C.'s production. Also, Vince C. is a genius for what he does with songs. However, some of the sound effects he chose to incorporate into some of the songs kind of take away from them; like the cartoonish "boing" throughout "Torch Team." Bleeps and bloops are fine, but a "boing" kind of pushes the envelope. The same goes for the car horn that beeps in time to the beat in "Crying For The Moon" (which I know only happens once, but I'm trying to make a point here). I know he's all about putting out-of-the-ordinary sounds into songs and making them work, but every so often, they can be slightly out of place.
Anyway, instead of pontificating on who's album this really is - Vince Clarke's or Robert Marlow's, I'll take it for what it is - a tasty slice of early 80s new wave synth-pop which I am glad to have in my collection.
- Calling All Destroyers
- Torch Team
- The Face Of Dorian Gray
- Life In A Film
- The Kiss
- That Dangerous Age
- Crying For The Moon
- I Just Want To Dance