Lacking the polish of their commercial mega-hit Dare
and later efforts such as Hysteria
, Reproduction is an intriguing reminder of what made Human League so interesting in the first place.
Before enlisitng two schoolgirls to go on tour with them, the League were a group of idealistic young blokes from Sheffield with a manifesto to create ground-breaking elecronic music without the support of any traditional 'rock' instruments. They definitely succeeded in their aim, and the 17 tracks on this remastered LP are testament to this success.
My favourite songs here are the doom-laden Circus of Death and Blind Youth - the latter reminiscent of something fellow synth pioneers Blancmange might have released - and I also love early singles, the anthemic 'Empire State Human' and the simply brilliant 'Being Boiled'. The raw energy and mordant wit that runs through the album is what made the band so original, and the irony-free cover of Righteous Brothers' You've Lost That Loving Feeling' is simply the icing on the cake.
Commercial success meant that the band would never quite scale such artistic heights again, but this and the equally stirring Travelogue
stand as examples of how synth pop truly began.