Whereas Kraftwerk navigated the Autobahn at a fairly moderate pace, Alan Vega & Martin Rev often break all speed limits. Controlled, even disembodied vocals characterize the German band's music while Suicide's is pierced by whoops, hollers & gasps. Most of these songs are so beautiful and tuneful that they would have been chart material had they been toned down to the level of say, OMD or Eurythmics. With the exception of the 10 harrowing minutes of Frankie Teardrop, a real piece of "psychobilly," the melodies & hooks are irresistible.
The pulsating Ghost Rider with its ominous drone is quite anthemic, more minimalist than Alan Vega's later solo version. Although still appealing, Rocket USA is eerie & doom-laden while Cheree is a mid-tempo ballad with an enchanting chiming melody unfolding behind the drone. There are lighter, more accessible and highly catchy tracks like Johnny and Girl, another slow number with a hypnotic arrangement & richly textured sounds.
The band's sound on this album ranges from a unique type of electronic rockabilly to experimental like one of their Mute label-mate bands, The Normal (Warm Leatherette & TVOD), to the accessible territory later explored by The Human League, Eurythmics & OMD. The main difference with Kraftwerk is that in unifying man & machine, the German band restrained the emotions while Suicide does just the opposite by using the electronics to amplify emotions to the extreme. On the later CD A Way of Life, they did take a more pop approach but sacrificed most of the passion. This seminal album remains a masterpiece of electronic pop-rock.Read more ›