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  • Penthouse and Pavement: Special Edition (2CD+DVD)
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Penthouse and Pavement: Special Edition (2CD+DVD) CD+DVD, PAL, Special Edition, Box set


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Music

Image of album by Heaven 17

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Biography

1980s

Taking their name from a fictional pop group mentioned in Anthony Burgess's novel, A Clockwork Orange, (where 'The Heaven Seventeen' are at number 4 in the charts with "Inside"), Heaven 17 formed when Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware split from their earlier group, The Human League, and formed the production company British Electric Foundation (BEF). ... Read more in Amazon's Heaven 17 Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Nov. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: CD+DVD, PAL, Special Edition, Box set
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B003ZJUIP0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,707 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang (2006 Digital Remaster)
2. Penthouse And Pavement (2006 Digital Remaster)
3. Play To Win (2006 Digital Remaster)
4. Soul Warfare (2006 Digital Remaster)
5. Geisha Boys And Temple Girls (2006 Digital Remaster)
6. Let's All Make A Bomb (2006 Digital Remaster)
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Penthouse And Pavement (Original Demo)
2. (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang (Original Demo)
3. Play To Win (Original Demo Instrumental)
4. Soul Warfare (Original Demo)
5. Are Everything (Original Demo)
6. BEF Ident (Alternate Version)
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. The Story Of Penthouse And Pavement: 2010 Documentary

Product Description

Product Description

The DVD includes the documentary 'The story of Penthouse and Pavement'.

BBC Review

Stone-cold classic or sacred cow? With synth-pop a prevalent pop force again, La Roux and Little Boots carrying torches first lit in the late 1970s, first-wave acts like Heaven 17 are arguably more fashionable now than ever before. The Sheffield band’s 1981 debut album is regularly cited as hugely influential, a landmark of its time. And it’s certainly a super listen, mixing the steely cool of Ian Marsh and Martyn Ware’s previous outfit, The Human League, with an assured funkiness that echoed the Brian Eno-produced Talking Heads albums of the era. But faultless? Of course not – it’s a debut, with all the inconsistency that typically entails.

The album’s singles remain striking, though, however much some of the surrounding material has inevitably dated. The first, March 1981’s (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang, took leftist ideology into the (lower end of the) chart, much to the dismay of Radio 1’s Mike Read who promptly banned it from airplay. The track was the highest-charting cut from Penthouse and Pavement – proper mainstream recognition would arrive with 1983’s The Luxury Gap and its number two success, Temptation – but Play to Win and the title-track are similarly superb. The former is a twitchily insistent ode to positive mental attitudes, whatever the risks involved; the latter, a sublimely smoothly backed portrait of a work-hard, play-harder attitude and the cost to the soul in question.

Affixed to the end of the original nine-track album are the first of this set’s bonus tracks – 12" versions of I’m Your Money and Are Everything, and Decline of the West. The latter originally appeared on the cassette-only release Music for Stowaways, and further B.E.F. (British Electronic Foundation – "the new partnership that’s opening doors all over the world") tracks appear on the second disc, a collection of lost demos from 1980. These carefully restored recordings illustrate just how keen Ware and Marsh, and vocalist Glenn Gregory, were to expand the synth-pop palette. The demo tracks exude a greater organic quality than their glossed-up final mix counterparts, the band clearly feeling their way around new ideas and directions; they’re ultimately inferior as songs, but certainly interesting, even the instrumentals. Several alternate B.E.F. takes are superbly sharp and direct – the evil pulsations of Uptown Apocalypse and Music to Kill Your Parents By particularly unsettling, a world away from the glamour of The Luxury Gap.

The fine assortment of bonus tracks – and an accompanying DVD documentary – will sell this latest packaging to existing admirers, but newcomers have never had it better either. In its outtakes and experiments Penthouse and Pavement reveals its truest colours yet: it’s no masterpiece, but it is a fascinating insight into the remarkably rapid development of a genre which shows no sign of drifting quietly away into the night.

--Mike Diver

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Wilson on 2 Sept. 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Virgin's reissues, approved by the band, are long overdue, and priced to attract casual listeners as well as die-hard fans. "Penthouse and Pavement" was BEF's first official pop album, after the Human League split (post the brilliant "Travelogue") and it's sparse sound, juxtaposed with political lyrics or convoluted love-songs, was an immediate critical success. Glen still sounds a bit like Phil Oakey here (less so on the warmer follow-up album)and some of the percussive tracks remind me of "Reproduction", but the whole thing works far better than the League's first album. The remaster is beefed up a bit on the lower end (not a bad thing) but retains the spikiness of the original release. Highlights - well there isn't really a bad track here! From the opening "Fascist Groove Thang" to the 'looped' outro of "We're Going To Live..." we are taken through a whole range of lyrical subject matter and rhythms. Some may sound a bit dated now, but that's not the point, this album is a classic of it's type.

The bonus tracks are also interesting, as most are either vinyl only or from the BEF import CD of "Music For Listening To", but all remastered. Some of the bleeps on "I'm Your Money" 12" seem to sound a little harsh in places, but that's probably exactly how they were meant to sound. As per another reviewer, it would've been even better if they'd added the 12" original mix(or instrumental) of "Penthouse", as it is different from the album version - and there is space here - but other than that this reissue is great. It's nice to see references to track titles on "Before After" in sleeve-notes too, just to remind fans they are still very much around!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By N. Mcalister on 31 Jan. 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This LP is a classic. A true ageless piece of work. Here you can trace quite a few future types of music here. The title track alone points towards future music from artists such as Squarepusher (in use of the bass), House music (the piano stabs in the instrumental breakdown) and, in Facist Grove Thing, the keyboard parts are copied lock-stock-and-barrel by 808 State in most of their early work.

Remaster has one major flaw, and the reason why this edition misses 5 stars of greatness. The MASSIVE audio dropout on the title track (just before the lines "Pistol, Pavements, No TV") is criminal, and just does not appear on the original LP, or any of the compilation LP's I have heard this on since (it was on 12"/80's comp perfectly). Shame. :(
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Coincidence Vs Fate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Aug. 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I remember being devasted when the original Human League split up. Then, I cheered up a bit when I realised that I'd have twice the product to buy. Philip and Adrian quickly released the brilliant "Boys and Girls" and Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware roped in Glenn Gregory (who was first choice to be original HL vocalist) formed Heaven 17 and released the mighty "Groove Thang", which upset the BBC due to it's anti-Reagan stance.

This first album for me was the height of Heaven 17's powers, though I continued to soldier on with their releases, none matched Penthouse for energy or quality.

The original singles in extended form from this album were amazing, the extended version of the title track (shame it's not on here) was brilliant and showed that Martyn and Ian could programme a Linn just as well as Martin Rushent could!

There are two tracks that make this release for me. Firstly the excellent and haunting instrumental Decline Of The West, which is still one of my favourite tracks to this day...beautiful. The second is the cover of Pete Shelley's "Are Everything" which was recorded not too long after the Buzzcocks' original. It's nice to get this on CD. I seem to remember at the time, that this track started off their fetish for cover versions, which culminated in the two "Music Of Quality & Distinction" albums. Not sure why this track never appeared on those though.

Still, in conclusion, this is a really fine album, which still sounds fresh and vibrant.

Say goodbye to the penthouse and hello to your soul.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By orac101 on 21 Aug. 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Listening to the remastered 'Fascist Groove Thang' a quarter of a century on and you wouldn't think that it was recorded within a week. Nor would you believe that that H17 took random lines from their favorite US soul records and mixed in a few heart felt socialist observations deep from the heart of Sheffield concerning the early warning signs about our 'special relationship' with the US.

Things were bad back then, but Reagen (President elect) and Thatcher are nothing but quaint figures of comedic proportions when compared to the current nightmare scenario of Bush and the UK leader whom he addresses as 'Yo Blair!'.

As a 14 year old listening to this track for the first time, I couldn't quite understand H17's American stance in this song. The Russians were the ones pointing the missiles at us (although we later learn that the Red's nuclear arsenal was in fact a joke reinforced by alien agencies that included the CIA).

It is a delight to report that the remastered opening track has an added vibrancy that should serve to remind most listeners how H17 were simply light years ahead of the Visage and Duran crowd who were content back then to use the nearest pre-set synth option.

NME were wrong about a lot of things over the years but during this time, even they understood the genius that combined the production talents of Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh - the founders of The Human League and two individuals who would mess around with unstable analogue synths regardless of current fashion to create just for us, brand new sounds that you would hear no where else.
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