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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Synth Heaven from excellent artists
What can I say that hasn't already been said!

This is a fantastic album. Great writing, great production, great vocals. Anyone who enjoys music produced by Trevor Horn, or music by Pet Shop Boys, OMD, Propaganda, Erasure, Trademark, Moodswings and similar will love this.

Item was a good EP but Instead steps up many gears to give you an album that you...
Published on 18 May 2007 by Mr. Ps Bellamy

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice
It's not often that I'll buy an album before I've heard a single note of it but in this case the pedigree of the artists was enough to make me shell out.

Between them Humphreys and Brücken were responsible for some of the most interesting music of the 80s and a collaboration seemed almost guaranteed to produce memorable results. Almost...
Published on 7 Mar 2007 by M. Marshall


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Synth Heaven from excellent artists, 18 May 2007
By 
This review is from: Instead (Audio CD)
What can I say that hasn't already been said!

This is a fantastic album. Great writing, great production, great vocals. Anyone who enjoys music produced by Trevor Horn, or music by Pet Shop Boys, OMD, Propaganda, Erasure, Trademark, Moodswings and similar will love this.

Item was a good EP but Instead steps up many gears to give you an album that you just won't be able to switch off. The 2 versions of Sister on Item though are worthy of a mention here as both are great. So buy Item too!

The new version of Signals is great, some bizarre key shifts that work brilliantly.

I recommend this to anyone reading it because you came this far so won't be disappointed!

PSB.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return long overdue - but worth it!, 1 Mar 2007
By 
M. B. Wilson "crushtrash" (Bristol) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Instead (Audio CD)
After their 2 yr old "Item" ep I was wondering if an album would ever surface - but this 13 tracker (only one track, the single "Cloud 9", overlaps - as Signals is completely remixed) is a pleasant and long-overdue follow-up for Ms Brucken and Mr Humphreys. Nicely packed in digipack with booklet (all very fluid design) the album starts with the only piece of mood music, which morphs perfectly into Part 2, which is a vocal. The melodies are good, and Claudia's vocals sound as fresh as they did all those years ago (unlike some vocalists who struggle nowadays to retain the tone and diction). Paul has one lead vocal Contribution "Not To Blame", and this sits well after "Have A Cigar" due to the related topics. Perhaps a few more uptempo tracks could've been included, but the production is smooth and yet often edgey (if that makes sense). Bob Kruashaar is mainly at the mixing desk, apart from the heavily remixed and slightly extended version of the wonderful "Signals", and "Heaven".

All in all this is nearly an hour of polished pop that straddles the 80s and 2k's comfortably, and deserves a wider audience than it's low profile is likely to offer it. A really nice piece of work, guys!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the femme fatale is back!, 1 April 2007
By 
Mr. Nathan Armstrong - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Instead (Audio CD)
so nearly twenty years on we at last get a follow up to claudias solo album...the onetwo ep was a pleasant experience! the "another language" not so! miss brucken has provided some fantastic music - the amazing propaganda album. the equally amazing "act" album and her own solo album are all amoung my most favourite albums of all time!

on this album she teams up with paul humphries ex-omd and the pairing works wonderfully! it has to be said either age or paul has calmed to angst of the young claudia! but the voice is still amazing! claudia has always had limited appeal in the uk...more due to the music industry than talent or providing great music..so this album, unfortunately wont change it!

fans of propaganda, frankie goes to hollywood, the human league, depeche mode, 80s music will love it as will people who like atmospheric pop chill out!

the packaging is good...but would have liked the lyrics to be included!

so to the album....its great...more laid back than i was expecting "theory part 2" "sequential" "cloud 9"...."have a cigar" sees the claudia of old and the nearest we get to the angst of previous songs - it blends into "i dont blame you" which paul sings wonderfully..which returns to the laid back feel of the album.

the production is first class..what would you expect!

its a wonderful album..maybe less punchy that i expected..quiter, poppier, and happier! i doubt any younger fans will get to here it..but for us who grew up with omd and cluadia its a wonderful experience.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-tronica Fan Review - Bring an Oxygen Mask . . ., 14 May 2007
By 
Sundreamer (Los Angeles, California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Instead (Audio CD)
. . . because the air is thin in the Van Allen Belts, where this album will transport and hold you in its all to brief duration. It starts in the nether regions of uncharted cosmos, spiraling across light years, through supernovas and past fiery comets to the general area of Earth, where Brucken's cool, exotic voice (yes, I find her German accent exotic) ponders man's quest to reconcile the incomprehensibly vast with the infinitesimally small (Theory of Everything, Parts 1 and 2). When I previewed Theory-2 on Onetwo's myspace page, I had to own this album. After all, how many really good songs are out there about theoretical physics and string theory?

Humphreys obviously delights in exploring the sonic options available through new technology, giving the album a distant, atmospheric feel, but Onetwo's dedication to old-fashioned songcrafting make their music (this album and its sister EP, Item) the coolest music in my collection that requires no explanation to friends riding in my car.

This is a start-to-finish album with no filler. Here are a couple of other highlights:

Two cover songs form a brief story arc about the intoxicating effects of fame and its soul-crushing hangover. Pink Floyd's Have a Cigar is infused with infectious excitement and wry humor (who knew a four-note solo could be so funny). Cigar segues seamlessly into Chan (Cat Power) Marshall's plaintive popstar ballad I Don't Blame You, comparatively sparsely mixed with Humphreys providing lead vocals in his signature simple, empathetic style.

Anonymous is a lovely tune that is either hopeful or terribly sad. It is a collaboration of Onetwo and Andy McCluskey (co-founder of OMD with Humphreys). This song gives a tantalizing hint at what Humphreys and McCluskey could still accomplish should they choose to bless the airwaves with a new collaboration.

Brucken's voice has been described as the "jewel in the crown" of this album, and I heartily concur with that assessment. For Onetwo's future work, though, perhaps Humphreys will incline his talent in a terrestrial direction and take to the microphone more prominently - because we miss you, far away.

OK, forget the oxygen mask and be giddy dancing in the Northern Lights.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Have a Cigar!, 17 Mar 2007
By 
muz "muz" (Swindon, England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Instead (Audio CD)
I've always loved Claudia's voice, the way it swoops to pick up those low notes never fails to hit me square in the solar plexus, and the years have not dimmed it! I'd agree that there's no killer single here, and lyrically in places it's a bit lazy perhaps, but I can't get the tunes out of my head. And that voice! Claudia could sing my shopping list and I'd be rapt. Can we have a follow up soon please guys?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait!, 27 Feb 2007
This review is from: Instead (Audio CD)
I waited patiently for ages for Paul and Claudia to finsish this debut album and they did not disappoint! It's lush, beautiful and oh, just...sublime. The Theory of Everything, Sequential, Home, Cloud Nine and the steely teutonic Kein Anschluss stand out. Sure, there are a couple of so-so tracks (I don't blame you is the only real dud) but overall this is a simply gorgeous and beautifully produced album from two fantastic talents. If you love OMD, Propaganda, Depeche Mode etc you'll love this. Let's just hope we don't have to wait quite so long for the follow up!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new twist on nostalgia, 27 Feb 2007
This review is from: Instead (Audio CD)
Ok, I'm biased. Propaganda and OMD were two of my favourite bands of the '80s, so the anticipation for this album has been building for some years now since I heard that Claudia Brucken and Paul Humphries were collaborating. Having played the CD constantly since it's arrival, here's my review.

The opening track "The Theory of Everything" is a midtempo affair, building to a chorus full of backing vocals that would sat happily on any of the later OMD albums. Claudia's vocals are fantastic throughout and any fan of her Propaganda, Act or her solo album "Love and A Million Other Things" will get the shiver of nostalgia on hearing them. The album continues with "Sequential" and "Home (Tonight)" both having dark, brooding undertones and heavy on the synths. "Signals" has been remixed since their 2004 release "Item" and is more sedate than it's previous incarnation; although I love the original mix, this isn't a bad thing as the new mix sits perfectly with the rest of the album. "Have A Cigar" is Pink Floyd meets Frankie Goes To Hollywood and one of the standout tracks. Paul's vocals come into their own in "I Don't Blame You" which is follwed by "Cloud 9", the, highlight of the album in my opinion, featuring Depeche Mode's Martin Gore on guitar. "Anonymous" and "Heaven", although not bad songs by any means, are a little too ephemeral in the wake of "Cloud 9". "Kein Anschluss" is back on track however with definite nods to Kraftwerk in musical style and German lyrics. "The Weakness in Me" is a quiet, reflective track that could've been on a Depeche Mode post-"Violator" album, whereas "Vision In The Sky" starts slowly and builds to an uplifting synth-voiced ending to this fine debut album.

My only (minor) criticism is that there aren't the "Claudia-goes-a-bit-wild-and-scary-with-the-vocals" moments that were present in the Propaganda and Act days. That being said it's nice to hear an album that, for the first time in a long time, I'm not bored with by the third or fourth listen.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accomplished Debut from Electro-Pop Duo, 26 Feb 2007
By 
Mr. D. J. Underwood "Excessional" (Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Instead (Audio CD)
Onetwo comprise Claudia Brucken and Paul Humphreys. Both artists had their heyday in the 80's - Claudia was vocalist with the German synth-group Propaganda (Dr. Mabuse and Duel were two fantastic singles); Paul was in Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark until the late 80's. For the past couple of years of so they have been writing and performing together. There was an EP issued previously but now the long-awaited album proper is out - it's taken a while but I think that their studio time and costs have been self-financed.

So what's the music like? Very good actually! It has a kind of late-night ambient chillout pop feel about it - rooted in 80's synths but modern sounding too with a great production. The lead single is 'Cloud 9' which was co-written with Martin Gore of Depeche Mode. Claudia has almost all of the vocal duties and her germanic voice really sits well with the musical accompaniment. One particular surprise is a cover of Pink Floyd's 'Have A Cigar' which leads straight into the next track which, with it's subdued intro, for half a second you think is going to be 'Wish You Were Here' - very cleverly done.

The packaging to the album is also very professional - a three leaf glossy gatefold with inner credits booklet and inner disc sleeve. All-in-all, the group are presenting themselves very competently. A stylish, sublime sound. Unlikely to trouble the top 40 unfortunately but that's a shame - it really is!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 26 Jan 2008
By 
MHC (Isle of Man) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Instead (Audio CD)
I liked OMD and Propoganda so I bought the Item EP when that was released and liked that, especially "Sister".

Instead is a very good album. It is consistently good, and "The Theory of Everything" is outstanding. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Erasure, Goldfrapp, PSB, etc.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ein zwei?, 27 Feb 2007
By 
P. Addyman "padonbike" (Newcastle, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Instead (Audio CD)
lush electro cult pop. you will either have been waiting for this album for a couple of years and bought it immediately (4 of the tracks have been previewed for a while on myspace, so you're not totally shooting in the dark) or you won't have a clue who Paul and Claudia are and no amount of positive press on amazon is going to make you indulge yourself.

The production is lush and is closer to quieter moments on DM's Exciter or Playing the Angel certainly than anything Claudia Brucken has done before.

You half expect it would be Paul singing Have a Cigar, but then remember Claudia is not backwards in coming forward in bizarre cover versions of male singers (Sorry for Laughing, Heaven know I'm miserable now). She carries this up-pace version off very well with a bit of retro ZTT Fairlight backing tracks thrown in for old time's sake. The following song, I don't Blame You is the album's only true weak spot: it's pitiful that a guy who spent the first 3 albums of his career trying to re-invent himself as a Scouse Kraftwerk should sink to this lame groupie dirge about guitar-wielding old rockers. It's doubly pitiful that Claudia can write and sing an infinitely better song in German for English ears (Kein AnschluB) than he can in his native tongue.

There is no killer single - not that it would chart anyway nowadays - like Kiss like Ether, but it is still a fine effort and, until they all kiss and make up to create A Secret Wish 2, keeps her nicely ahead of her old mate Susan Freytag, whose 2006 release, Valley of the Machine Gods, despite an wonderful title, lacks that pure pop edge.

The two extra remixes on the Cloud 9 cd single are worth having.
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