on 29 July 2009
As before a number of the songs (Road to Nowhere & Heaven) sound as though they have been chirped into hairbrushes in some delightfully innocent school karaoke. Others (particularly Master and Servant and Parade)sound as though they have been spat out by a tortured diva between vodka martinis and doomed love affairs.
While I greatly admire the guest singers themselves (Mr. Adamson and Mr. Gore in particular) and love the fact that they're in on the fun, I don't think they added much I'm afraid.
That said, if you like your cover versions to be inventive and fresh and/or you thoroughly enjoyed the previous output you're going to be satisfied and (dare I say it - go on dare!) thrilled. Word of warning: if you didn't enjoy the other Nouvelle Vague albums or are particularly precious about the original versions I doubt this will persuade you.
This really shouldn't work, a slow tempo, sensual voiced re-working of a handful of 80's hits, yet somehow far more often than not this really does have that certain something that makes you return only to find it's even better than you remember.
So often when you just expect a simple, stripped down, reworking the rug is pulled out from under your feet as a completely unexpected style is used. The bonkers retro 'Metal' complete with French vocals really ought to be a disaster. I love Numan's work & view this as his finest track but this really works with a groovy hammond organ alongside some effective improvised vocal work. A million miles from the original and no bad thing either.
The ska version of plastic Bertrands early punk classic 'Ca plane pour moi' is somehow like a re-mix of the original.
'say hello wave goodbye' brings an even sadder reflection than the original while still reflecting the hopeful wishing of Soft Cells original.
The highlight for me is 'So lonely' which drops the pace to funereal and strips the vocals back to bare bones with sparse backing and lovely harmonies that is just so sad its awesome!
Not everything works. The more up-tempo covers just dont do it for me. This is all about ballads that allow the vocals to take centre stage where they belong and when the music takes over this is not so strong.
If you are fed up with has beens releasing awful cover albums, X-factor by the numbers warbling and middle class bimbo's pretending to be 'cockerney' then this is just the thing for you. There is nothing else like it out there, it is genuinely different and when it works it really is quite something.