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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A near-classic album given deserved remastering - at last!
The opening thunderclap and pavement-slab scrapings hint at this being a dramatic, and far more produced, successor to their subliminal debut album. "Crushed By The Wheels" (album mix) is classic H17, political yet poppy, mainstream yet subversive. Other tracks that keep the listener wondering include "Lady Ice and Mr Hex", "Key To The World" (great BVs) and "The Best...
Published on 26 Aug 2006 by M. B. Wilson

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE THREE PROFESSORS OF SYNTH POP
Heaven 17 made intelligent, catchy and classic singles. They pushed the envelope on what could be acheived with a sequencer and a synth and, in frontman Glenn Gregory, they had a singer with a totally unique voice.
The Luxury Gap is Heaven 17's second album and the record that truely broke the band big in the Uk and across Europe.
Of course the big hit was the...
Published on 31 July 2008 by Mr. Christopher J. Welch


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A near-classic album given deserved remastering - at last!, 26 Aug 2006
By 
M. B. Wilson "crushtrash" (Bristol) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Luxury Gap (Audio CD)
The opening thunderclap and pavement-slab scrapings hint at this being a dramatic, and far more produced, successor to their subliminal debut album. "Crushed By The Wheels" (album mix) is classic H17, political yet poppy, mainstream yet subversive. Other tracks that keep the listener wondering include "Lady Ice and Mr Hex", "Key To The World" (great BVs) and "The Best Kept Secret". Ofcourse "Temptation" is here, with Karol Kenyon delivering the goods (but never really credited) and so is the slightly pedestrian "Come Live With Me". However as a whole it never quite lives up to expectations - but meanders along at it's own pace.

This is one in a series of remasters approved and apparently checked by the band (according to their own website), although they were not involved in the actual remastering (Martyn, why not?). It's great to see Virgin now offering this treatment to the boys, after doing the honours with the League many years ago. "Penthouse" is their real classic, but this album is a good second (and still kept essentially to electronics and bass guitar). The liner notes and photos/artwork are pretty good, if a little indulgent (ie not really sticking to the music on the cd at times) and make this a worthwhile addition for any fan.

However, why do such reissues invariably include a tracklisting mistake? The bonus "dub" of "Who'll Stop The Rain" is in fact the vocal extended remix (which the liner notes accidentally stumble across!). The US 12" (promo) dub mix (which is an extended re-edit with most of the vocals taken out) is 6.53 mins and certainly not present on this cd! This, and the fact the band had no real input into the sleeve notes, results in 4 stars - but don't let that spoil the real music on this album!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a pleasure after all these years, 3 Oct 2006
By 
Jimbo "Jimbo L" (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Luxury Gap (Audio CD)
I have loved this album since it came out way back in the time when you were faced with the choice of cassette or LP versions -1983. As audio cassettes were an uncertain and generaly unreliable way of listening to music (they generally either snapped in the player or intertwined themselves into some sort of mad plastic ball!),and I had bought the band's first album (Penthouse And Pavement - check it out)on cassette ,when The Luxury Gap came out I plumped for the LP version. I have now bought the CD version and am very plesed to have revisited this strange, yet sublime masterpiece.

The gloomy sound of a storm greets you at the start of Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry and a thumping bass line along with swirling electronica grace a story, which carries over very nicely from Penthouse and Pavement (wannabes and yuppies are the target here), some stunning piano work drive this song to its finale.

Who'll Stop The Rain is another bass thumper (some very interesting and intricate chord changes here), with some very silly lyrics to boot.

Let Me Go is a fantastic song, encapsulating all that was great in 80s synthesizer music. A wonderful bass and drum combination, some great lyrics on this one, some brilliant use of synths,and a number of clever hooks add up to a mighty fine song - worth buying the album for this song alone.

Key To The World carries on in a similar vein to Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry, money making in the eighties (a culture which they were probably right to revile looking at the materialism which is rife nowadays). It has some strange uses of horns which somehow seem to pull the whole song together.

Temptation was, and probably always will be, Heaven 17's most famous song. This song seems to still be the staple diet of your general family disco. Carol Kenyon's marvelous vocal range, together with incredibly catchy, danceable music make this a classic.

Come Live With Me tells the story of a sugar daddy lamenting the age of his girlfriend. Sheer Brilliance.

Lady Ice And Mr Hex is a powerful drum and piano ballad. The piano is something special here.

We Live So Fast, is indeed a fast tune, a hi energy dance song, and whizzes along as the name implies. There are clever uses of drum breaks and keyboards all through this song.

The final track, after all my gushing about other songs here, is the best song by far and well worth waiting for. The song is a wonderfully swirling mass of orchestra, which coupled by Glenn Gregory's splendid vocals make this song one of the best, in my opinion, of Heaven 17's repertoire. Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh add a wonderful backing vocal, as well as some great percussion to enhance the song even further.

The Luxury Gap is a great record of a time when musical pioneers were venturing to many strange and unusual places. Heaven 17 - I salute you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a pleasure after all these years, 24 Feb 2006
By 
Jimbo "Jimbo L" (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Luxury Gap (Audio CD)
I have loved this album since it came out way back in the time when you were faced with the choice of cassette or LP versions -1983. As audio cassettes were an uncertain and generaly unreliable way of listening to music (they generally either snapped in the player or intertwined themselves into some sort of mad plastic ball!),and I had bought the band's first album (Penthouse And Pavement - check it out)on cassette ,when The Luxury Gap came out I plumped for the LP version. I have now bought the CD version and am very plesed to have revisited this strange, yet sublime masterpiece.
The gloomy sound of a storm greets you at the start of Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry and a thumping bass line along with swirling electronica grace a story, which carries over very nicely from Penthouse and Pavement (wannabes and yuppies are the target here), some stunning piano work drive this song to its finale.
Who'll Stop The Rain is another bass thumper (some very interesting and intricate chord changes here), with some very silly lyrics to boot.
Let Me Go is a fantastic song, encapsulating all that was great in 80s synthesizer music. A wonderful bass and drum combination, some great lyrics on this one, some brilliant use of synths,and a number of clever hooks add up to a mighty fine song - worth buying the album for this song alone.
Key To The World carries on in a similar vein to Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry, money making in the eighties (a culture which they were probably right to revile looking at the materialism which is rife nowadays). It has some strange uses of horns which somehow seem to pull the whole song together.
Temptation was, and probably always will be, Heaven 17's most famous song. This song seems to still be the staple diet of your general family disco. Carol Kenyon's marvelous vocal range, together with incredibly catchy, danceable music make this a classic.
Come Live With Me tells the story of a sugar daddy lamenting the age of his girlfriend. Sheer Brilliance.
Lady Ice And Mr Hex is a powerful drum and piano ballad. The piano is something special here.
We Live So Fast, is indeed a fast tune, a hi energy dance song, and whizzes along as the name implies. There are clever uses of drum breaks and keyboards all through this song.
The final track, after all my gushing about other songs here, is the best song by far and well worth waiting for. The song is a wonderfully swirling mass of orchestra, which coupled by Glenn Gregory's splendid vocals make this song one of the best, in my opinion, of Heaven 17's repertoire. Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh add a wonderful backing vocal, as well as some great percussion to enhance the song even further.
The Luxury Gap is a great record of a time when musical pioneers were venturing to many strange and unusual places. Heaven 17 - I salute you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You can't talk about synth-pop without mentioning this..., 22 May 2009
By 
Natalie Hansen (Finchley, London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Luxury Gap (Audio CD)
For those of you out of the loop, Heaven 17 comprised of 2 former members of the Human League (who left over creative differences with Phil Oakey) and a mate of theirs who was meant to be the HL lead singer, but wasn't available. That bust up was rather fortuitous, otherwise we would not have little gem! Their lyrical style pushed boundaries (even had a song banned by Mike Reid at one point), yet were not exclusively a political band.

It's good to see that Ian Marsh and Martyn Ware stuck to their principals when splitting from the Human League in keeping the music mainly synth focussed, and with powerful - sometimes politically driven - lyrics, and Glenn Gregory's distictive vocals (you can pick him out when you hear the original Band Aid song Do They Know It's Christmas), it all contributed to their unique sound in an era dominated by synthesizers and sequencers.
The Luxury Gap was Heaven 17's big break and should have been their ticket to greatness and pop immortality.

The Luxury Gap is a chocolate box of great electro tunes, with the star of the show "Temptation" being the hazelnut caramel. It stands the test of time, I am still not ashamed to have it blaring out of my I-pod on the underground and is the reason for my review title. You cannot talk about 80's music without mentioning this - Synth-pop at it's very best - with fantasic vocals, excellently layered sounds, it's so technically well executed that it can wipe the floor with Human League's Dare.

Our toffee fudgy numbers are "Let Me Go" and, in particular, "Come Live With Me" - it has been almost forgotten in the mists of time, yet still good and so enjoyable - catchy chorus and lyrics which make the listener feel slightly uncomfortable about an older man lamenting about his teenage lover and Gregory's spot on lead vocal.

Our solid chocolate cube is "Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry" it's a return to political form and doesn't disappoint, with the eerily prophetic "We Live So Fast" and "Key to the World" our fondants - you can tell they had fun experimenting with sound while making these. "The Best Kept Secret" lives up to it's name - understated and beautiful.

I can't get enough of this album, after it's initial release in 1983, it's still great to listen to - a definate recommendation to anyone interested in 80's electronic music!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heaven 17, 31 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Luxury Gap (Audio CD)
Rebuying back catalogue on CD. excellent album, plus a few added extras, hence purchase, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a true classic, 8 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Luxury Gap (MP3 Download)
Last heard this on vinyal , glad to say that it still sounds great and brought back fond memories of my youth. Enjoyed it so much that I went to see the boys actually perform the album in its entirity recently in Bristol.they were also brilliant.
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4.0 out of 5 stars temptation, 7 Aug 2012
By 
Victor Best "gvb" (birmingham, west mids United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Luxury Gap (Audio CD)
this is a great album probably their best one overall.
now including bonus tracks including a few 12" remixes.
unfortunately the 12" version of temptation is missing.
for some reason this has been left off the many h17 compilations.
there are various edits but not the classic 8 minute masterpice.
i have it on a disco album and it is a very important track.
the first half is instrumental before the familiar vocal hits.
why is this definitive version now ignored by heaven 17.
at least it is included in my ipod playlist.
Luxury Gap + 4
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the most definitive album of new wave of the 80's., 21 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Luxury gap (1982/83 (Audio CD)
This album starts with a fantastically loud version of Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry. Glen Gregory's voice surpasses any previous recording. As all three members of Heaven 17 were once members of Human League, you can see where the League get their roots and ideas from. Probably the best track on the album is We Live So Fast. It just makes you want to get up and dance!!!! Buy this album and enjoy a great flashback to 80's new wave with hits like Temptation and Come Live With Me. This album is a must for any 80's collection!!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE THREE PROFESSORS OF SYNTH POP, 31 July 2008
This review is from: The Luxury Gap (Audio CD)
Heaven 17 made intelligent, catchy and classic singles. They pushed the envelope on what could be acheived with a sequencer and a synth and, in frontman Glenn Gregory, they had a singer with a totally unique voice.
The Luxury Gap is Heaven 17's second album and the record that truely broke the band big in the Uk and across Europe.
Of course the big hit was the magnificent 'Temptation' - it still sounds great today and is totally unique. Driving drums and funky bassline, huge operatic harmonies from the band and Carole Kenyon's wonderful vocals. 'Temptation' is without doubt one of the key British singles of the early 80's and deserved to make number 1 (it peaked at no. 2). 'Come Live With Me' also graced the top 5 and is almost as suductive - massive chorus, smart and slightly creepy lyrics and Gregory's spot on lead vocal.
But there was always more to H17 than just the hits - 'Let Me Go' and the storming 'Key To The World' are both underated gems and 'Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry' is the sound of a band having fun. There are some lazy fillers, and the lyrics often veer from smart to nonsensicle, but there wasn't any other band around at the time who could mix live instruments and electronics together with such panache. In Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware Heaven 17 also had visionary studio boffins who were happy to experiment within the mainstream and literally 'invent' as they went along.
That The Luxury Gap still holds up 25 years later is recommendation enough.
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10 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly enjoyable, 12 Aug 2001
By 
JJ (London, London UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Luxury gap (1982/83 (Audio CD)
I had a copy of "The Luxury Gap" when I was 14-15 and, as with much of the 80s music I am now revisiting, it is so tied up with nostalgia that it is difficult to be completely subjective; music can be so emotive has a way of making you *feel* a certain way and bringing back memories.
I was never a Heaven 17 'fan' but my friend Clare Rimmer was :-) and this album just takes me back to O'levels and school discos (how sad).
However... I am listening to it now and, silly memories aside, feel compelled to try and write something partially rational cause it is quite lovely on levels that I probably didn't appreciate as a teen.
Firstly the bad bits (let's be honest)... lyrics are crap, cliche ridden, cringe-worthy. But then that's often the way. It *is* very 80s sounding - terrible artificial beat-box rythmn and, though the production is often excellent for the time, frequently dips into tacky riffs and bridges that spoil quite good songs.
However... and a *big* however... I have really enjoyed returning to this as an adult and, with hindsight, appreciate how innovative and completely different this album is to that of its contemporaries...
I got a 14 year-old Clare Rimmer (where RU Clare?) to tape this for me after hearing 'Temptation' which is one of those gloriously classic 80s songs - definitely 'pop' but Karol Kenyon's interludes were, even back in '82, quite special for the time ... well, hey, they do make you *feel* good, even if the lyrics are rubbish :-)
There are some real standard 'pop' tracks on this album ... very enjoyable but pretty run of the mill... 'Come Live With Me' (I really love this but probably, if I'm honest, for nostalgic reasons only) etc.
BUT...
Now a 30 something, this is a fascinating album to return to as I realise, despite the unfortunate commercial gloss, that in many, many ways, Heaven 17 was doing something quite special...
They have quite exceptional chord changes, really beautiful and often when you least expect them. Any fellow melancholic minor-key lovers will appreciate this.
Some beautiful harmonies, some unnecessarily bleurk!, but nevertheless they usually hit the mark.
Apart from three or four typically 'well crafted pop songs', the arrangement on the rest is very creative ... verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus-patterns really don't apply here... Heaven 17 have some absolutely delightful wee surprises and frequently break the 'rule' re the 'well crafted song'. It's unfortunate that the 80s synthesiser pre-sets sometimes get the better of them but they do have some quite remarkable breaks and interludes which completely trash the usual formula. Fantastically creative in their own way. 70 percent of the time they will just alter the structure of a song in the most fascinating way. The very end of the last song 'The Best Kept Secret' has to be the most (ignore the lyrics) beautiful chord change ever and just makes you want to play the whole album again, despite any initial reservations.
Glenn Gregory does have one of the most luxurious voices ever. I remember from my teenage forays into "Smash Hits" that he came across as a complete t**t but his voice is quite stunning.
It really is a 'feel this' rather than 'think this' album. They were never going to change the world with their ideas (did they have any?) but, honestly, if you can see past the dated 80s arrangements and production, they were really quite unique, even at the time.
Even the first (initially crappy sounding) 'Crushed by the wheels of industry' (not my favourite) has some quite nice melodic touches. Unfortunately, I still assocate this one with cold February school mornings playing hockey (which I hated!) but it bizarrely brings back great memories.
The third song, 'Let me go' is probably the most melodically beautiful (but oooh, that nasty 80s production!) ... gets me hook line and sinker.
At the end of the day this is one hell of an 80s album but it manages somehow to transcend this ... there's a lot of beauty to be found there and you just wonder what they *could* have been.
They say that there are good records and good songs. 2b honest, (maybe with the exception of 'Temptation'), these are not really good records but they are good songs (if you're deaf to lyrics, which I am mostly). Really makes you think what they could have been.
If you took one of say the 4 or 5 really decent musical tracks, you could do a fab cover version (hate cover versions but would be interesting to hear what could be done with these without that 80s tinge).
For anyone that is lucky to be young enough to hear this first time round... well, go for the pure pop track and hear 'Temptation' - really is an excellent trad pop number (I laugh at it now but it still gets me)... v. well crafted. Then hear the rest. You will giggle and think this sounds ancient ... but listen again and, amongst the nonsense, you will find something quite beautiful.
A lovely treasure of a re-descovery
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