In 1982, Marc Almond went into creative overdrive and in his spare time away from Soft Cell made two albums as Marc & The Mambas. This reissue of the first album contains the Mambas debut single, Sleaze (complete with video)- which makes this worthy of purchase being unavailable and hard to find since the 1980's (Sleaze's b-side Fun City can be found on the Soft Cell 12" singles boxset released in 2001).
The remainder of the album is 1982's Untitled, originally issued as one LP and one 12" single. The opening title track is the greatest song here, Almond co-writes with The The's Matt Johnson and creates a track somewhere between early The The (Another Boy Drowning, Cold Spell Ahead, Mental Healing Process) and Roy Orbison's Only the Lonely. A great song...Next up is Empty Eyes, co-written with Annie Hogan- this does go on a bit- which is a weakness of much of the material here (Twilights & Lowlifes/Street Walking Soundtrack); this could be put down to the chemicals taken at the time (see Almond's book Tainted Life)...Johnson co-writes Angels, which details superstar breakdown/meltdown Almond experienced when the Cell went huge in the States. Quite painful listening, a more dense Suicide...A cover of Lou Reed's Caroline Says II (from Berlin) is next, brave but not as great as the original. Annie Hogan contributes a pleasant enough piano instrumental (Margaret) , before Marc steps into Shirley Bassey and Scott Walker's shoes with a cover of Brel's If You Go Away. A great version, though the Scott one is untouchable and Almond did it better on Jacques and Twelve Years of Tears (the voice had improved). A fun cover of Syd Barrett's Terrapin (from The Madcap Laughs) is next, prior to Twilights & Lowlifes- which feels like the follow-up to songs like Seedy Films & Fun City (Cindy Ecstasy pops up also).
Untitled has some moments of genius, though it does feel like extraneous project- unlike the dark follow-up Torment & Toreros.