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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At The Height
I remember being devasted when the original Human League split up. Then, I cheered up a bit when I realised that I'd have twice the product to buy. Philip and Adrian quickly released the brilliant "Boys and Girls" and Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware roped in Glenn Gregory (who was first choice to be original HL vocalist) formed Heaven 17 and released the mighty "Groove...
Published on 7 Aug 2006 by Coincidence Vs Fate

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Album, Extras Not Necessary
I've had the original Penthouse and Pavement for nearly 20 years and it's an incredible record, no doubt about it. I figured a bunch of extra tracks from that era would be fantastic, but to be honest, as much as I like Heaven 17, I was a bit disappointed. Check out The Human League's Golden Hour of the Future for some better "found" tracks. The doc on the DVD is...
Published on 25 April 2011 by Scott Burgess


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At The Height, 7 Aug 2006
By 
Coincidence Vs Fate - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Penthouse And Pavement (Audio CD)
I remember being devasted when the original Human League split up. Then, I cheered up a bit when I realised that I'd have twice the product to buy. Philip and Adrian quickly released the brilliant "Boys and Girls" and Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware roped in Glenn Gregory (who was first choice to be original HL vocalist) formed Heaven 17 and released the mighty "Groove Thang", which upset the BBC due to it's anti-Reagan stance.

This first album for me was the height of Heaven 17's powers, though I continued to soldier on with their releases, none matched Penthouse for energy or quality.

The original singles in extended form from this album were amazing, the extended version of the title track (shame it's not on here) was brilliant and showed that Martyn and Ian could programme a Linn just as well as Martin Rushent could!

There are two tracks that make this release for me. Firstly the excellent and haunting instrumental Decline Of The West, which is still one of my favourite tracks to this day...beautiful. The second is the cover of Pete Shelley's "Are Everything" which was recorded not too long after the Buzzcocks' original. It's nice to get this on CD. I seem to remember at the time, that this track started off their fetish for cover versions, which culminated in the two "Music Of Quality & Distinction" albums. Not sure why this track never appeared on those though.

Still, in conclusion, this is a really fine album, which still sounds fresh and vibrant.

Say goodbye to the penthouse and hello to your soul.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A definitive piece of electronics.....even today, 2 Sep 2006
By 
M. B. Wilson "crushtrash" (Bristol) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Penthouse And Pavement (Audio CD)
Virgin's reissues, approved by the band, are long overdue, and priced to attract casual listeners as well as die-hard fans. "Penthouse and Pavement" was BEF's first official pop album, after the Human League split (post the brilliant "Travelogue") and it's sparse sound, juxtaposed with political lyrics or convoluted love-songs, was an immediate critical success. Glen still sounds a bit like Phil Oakey here (less so on the warmer follow-up album)and some of the percussive tracks remind me of "Reproduction", but the whole thing works far better than the League's first album. The remaster is beefed up a bit on the lower end (not a bad thing) but retains the spikiness of the original release. Highlights - well there isn't really a bad track here! From the opening "Fascist Groove Thang" to the 'looped' outro of "We're Going To Live..." we are taken through a whole range of lyrical subject matter and rhythms. Some may sound a bit dated now, but that's not the point, this album is a classic of it's type.

The bonus tracks are also interesting, as most are either vinyl only or from the BEF import CD of "Music For Listening To", but all remastered. Some of the bleeps on "I'm Your Money" 12" seem to sound a little harsh in places, but that's probably exactly how they were meant to sound. As per another reviewer, it would've been even better if they'd added the 12" original mix(or instrumental) of "Penthouse", as it is different from the album version - and there is space here - but other than that this reissue is great. It's nice to see references to track titles on "Before After" in sleeve-notes too, just to remind fans they are still very much around!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome LP, remaster drops "out", 31 Jan 2008
By 
N. Mcalister - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Penthouse And Pavement (Audio CD)
This LP is a classic. A true ageless piece of work. Here you can trace quite a few future types of music here. The title track alone points towards future music from artists such as Squarepusher (in use of the bass), House music (the piano stabs in the instrumental breakdown) and, in Facist Grove Thing, the keyboard parts are copied lock-stock-and-barrel by 808 State in most of their early work.

Remaster has one major flaw, and the reason why this edition misses 5 stars of greatness. The MASSIVE audio dropout on the title track (just before the lines "Pistol, Pavements, No TV") is criminal, and just does not appear on the original LP, or any of the compilation LP's I have heard this on since (it was on 12"/80's comp perfectly). Shame. :(
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (We Need This) Heaven 17 Groove Thang, 21 Aug 2006
This review is from: Penthouse And Pavement (Audio CD)
Listening to the remastered 'Fascist Groove Thang' a quarter of a century on and you wouldn't think that it was recorded within a week. Nor would you believe that that H17 took random lines from their favorite US soul records and mixed in a few heart felt socialist observations deep from the heart of Sheffield concerning the early warning signs about our 'special relationship' with the US.

Things were bad back then, but Reagen (President elect) and Thatcher are nothing but quaint figures of comedic proportions when compared to the current nightmare scenario of Bush and the UK leader whom he addresses as 'Yo Blair!'.

As a 14 year old listening to this track for the first time, I couldn't quite understand H17's American stance in this song. The Russians were the ones pointing the missiles at us (although we later learn that the Red's nuclear arsenal was in fact a joke reinforced by alien agencies that included the CIA).

It is a delight to report that the remastered opening track has an added vibrancy that should serve to remind most listeners how H17 were simply light years ahead of the Visage and Duran crowd who were content back then to use the nearest pre-set synth option.

NME were wrong about a lot of things over the years but during this time, even they understood the genius that combined the production talents of Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh - the founders of The Human League and two individuals who would mess around with unstable analogue synths regardless of current fashion to create just for us, brand new sounds that you would hear no where else.

The remastered version brings out many layers lost on the old 80's CD transfer including the brilliant soul infected female vocals of Josie James on title track 'Penthouse & Pavement' (no one was doing this at the time and it took a while for other acts to catch on to the power of such an exotic mix of musical styles).

'Penthouse & Pavement' is a rare gem of an album of epic 'Dare' proportions (which is apt as both shared the same genesis in a run down recording studio during alternative shifts in Sheffield). Every track is a melodic stomper with infectious choruses, and one ultimately has to wonder why H17 aren't universally adored and appreciated for that they achieved. Forget the ground breaking production techniques of BEF and those bizarre electro sounds that current acts would strive to sample today, H17 should also be remembered for their killer vocal hooks superbly delivered by Glenn Gregory.

'Geisha Boys & Temple Girls' is a perfect example of H17's talent in knocking out a tunes that you simply have to whistle along to whilst clapping in time to it's complex drum pattern.

Curious chord changes (that no doubt set alight the creative mind of a very young Martin Gore back in 1981) are attributed to the track that has an almost impossible task of following 'Ghesha Boys'. 'Let's All Make A Bomb' is no mid-album filler (infact there is no filler on this H17 debut) and whilst it's central CND message may have subsided in recent years, the song is simply adorable containing everything you want from an album track.

The first H17 track I ever heard was 'The Height of The Fighting' (though the 12" version my brother bought was different to the album version and it's a shame that it wasn't included as a bonus track), it's one of those tracks that instantly grabbed me as coming from somewhere completely different.

It was released as a single in 1982 but never dented the charts but looking back, it really should have done with it's innovative synth bassline (Arthur Baker would copy it a few years later with Freeze and their massive 1983 hit 'IOU').

'Song With No Name' is a curious number with some rather spooky electro backing that oddly sounds very current. The track appears to tell the story about an artist struggling to come up with creative ideas expected of him but things seem to take a sinister twist. Curious chord changes too that evokes memories of Travelogue's 'WXJL Tonight', chord changes that few bands could get away with in today's musical climate (except Depeche Mode and Hot Chip).

H17 always knew a thing or two about album finales and their debut is rounded off by an 'attack' on organised religion.

It's a ridiculously catchy track sung from the perspective of happy-clappy Christians who think the rest of us are damned, a song about religious fundamentalism 25 years ahead of it's time.

The remastered P&P comes with one or two welcome extra tracks most notably the extended version of H17's second single 'I'm Your Money' (a track that should have made the final tracklisting for the original album but was neglected which is odd considering that it is a definitive H17 stomper). Containing some very clever wordplay, the track pays mock homage to capitalism with terms such as 'the overnight treasury' and other city buzzwords that you're unlikely to ever hear on any other pop track, and the amusing line 'I'm offering you the post of wife' always makes me smile.

'I'm Your Money' is one of the few H17 tracks in which the lads proudly display their musical heritage for it is a track that Kraftwerk would have been proud of and it also provides a blueprint for the current crop of electro acts that includes Mute's Client (their 2004 single 'In It For The Money' even used a H17 rift) and The Modern who were recently agonizingly close to scoring a UK chart hit with 'Industry'.

'Are Everything' is presented here for the first time on CD in it's original 12" mix, a superb electro cover of a Buzzcocks track and (an edited version first appeared on the B-side of 'I'm Your Money'). Most people will be new to this ancient H17 cover and I can assure you that it's worth purchasing the remastered P&P just for this rarely heard track (though the whole album is worth so much more).

Also worth checking out is the BEF instrumental 'Decline of The West', a haunting and distictively beautiful analogue instrumental that would have fitted in perfectly with the Vangelis Bladerunner film score a few years later in 1982 and it begs the question, why didn't H17 do film scores?

The instrumental also evokes memories of Wendy Carlos and her soundtrack for Kubrick's 'A Clockwork Orange' (pictured opposite) that introduced us to the name 'Heaven 17'.

Together with the BBC's now defunct Radiophonic Workshop, both would go on and influence many of the major players in the UK analogue movement during the late 70's/early 80s.

A huge round of applause should be directed to Donal Whelan of Hafod Mastering who has done such a fantastic job in cleaning up these archive recordings.

This is one of the best digital remasters I've ever heard.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic made betterer, 24 Nov 2010
By 
C. J. Weller - See all my reviews
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Always loved this album ,bought it when it came out about 100 years ago it seems,heard what they were doing with it so of course i had to have it,wasn`t expecting that much ,better sound due to remastering ,extra tracks,it has both.
What i didn`t expect was the attention to detail and all the extras ,mini reproductions of the single sleeves ,extensive booklet with loads of photos,poster all in a natty box.
Nice to hear the demo`s on disc 2 ,i may not want to listen to them every day ,but a fascinating listen non the less,the video i had already seen on the tv, but great to have my own copy,cant believe it was only just shy of (...),i would have payed more .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars choc full of nuts, for a classic to be rediscovered and - in any case - not to be missed, 20 Dec 2010
By 
Stefano Galli (italy) - See all my reviews
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This is the era of boxed sets, deluxe editions at any price (almost) and risks of redundancy for various albums which tend, more often than not, to be simply rebought by fans (sometimes you have the vinyl and the first CD versions already in your collections: isn't it?).

Well this reissue is a labour of love (no pun intended) and in ideal world should be kept as an example for future reissues, but an ideal world this is not.

Each of the two CDs and the DVD stand alone; the poster, the cards reproducing 12" covers are a welcome addition to the package. Thumbs up for the liner notes too.

Fully recommended in both form and substance, especially substance: Heaven 17 are today maybe even better than 30 years ago, like all good spirits.
I do not know why, but I think of them like I think about Magazine: the best of the post punk ones are immortal classics which still make you think, while you enjoy the sound and the words.

You may, also, want to dust off the first two Human League albums in CD format (which at the time came in single configuration but with enough bonuses).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Album Way Ahead Of Its Time, 19 Jun 2010
By 
Frank Keith (Dundee Scotland UK) - See all my reviews
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Hard to believe this album is nearly 30 years old.
Growing up in the 80s it was one of them albums you heard and had to buy.
Look out for heaven 17s 30th aniverasry tour which starts in November which is to celebrate 30 years since the realease of penthouse and pavement,where the band now consisting of Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware will be playing the whole of the album live plus extras a must for H17 fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN eighties classic, 13 Nov 2009
By 
Anthony Bull (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Penthouse And Pavement (Audio CD)
This was Heaven 17's first album after leaving the Human League, and is really the true follow up to the excellent Travelogue.
This was always a bit of an avant guard album and was hugely successful, but because of the experimental nature of the electronic 'pop' it didn't spawn any monster chart hits.
However it was huge in the clubs, and a string of singles were lifted from it.
The biggest hit from the album is in fact the first track 'We Don't Need This Fascist Groove Thing' a perfect piece of eighties political dance pop.
The entire album has a strong political slant and many of the songs are about war and bombs, reflecting the cold war paranoia of the times.
There really isn't a dud track on the original album, my only negative criticism of this version are the bonus track, they are a little weak with the exception of 'I'm Your Money'.
If you are an aficionado of eighties pop, this really is a must have album, and often overlooked after the release of the excellent 'Dare' by the new line up of Human League, a very different commodity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very comprehensive box set, 16 Dec 2010
Beautifully presented in a cardboard box, with a lovely booklet, reproductions of some 7" sleeve artwork, plus a remastered copy of the album, a 'making-of' DVD and a CD of rediscovered demos. All with fantastic artwork and graphics.

At this low price, this is very good value compared to the also-available regular CD of the album. That said, having heard the demos once I did skim the last few and doubt I'll ever play them again, as they didn't really add anything to me - and merely made the excellent album sound a little dated alongside them. The DVD is a good watch though - although, again, I'm not sure how often you'd get around to watching it. Very nicely put together, very low key, but very informative, and with some great interviewees.

'Penthouse & Pavement' as an album is obviously pretty much one of THE best albums of the early 80s, and bearing in mind the current political climate, seems very apt again 30 years later. I saw these guys a few weeks ago on the 'P&P' tour and it was really exciting to hear the music live. Definitely a classic album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Album, Extras Not Necessary, 25 April 2011
I've had the original Penthouse and Pavement for nearly 20 years and it's an incredible record, no doubt about it. I figured a bunch of extra tracks from that era would be fantastic, but to be honest, as much as I like Heaven 17, I was a bit disappointed. Check out The Human League's Golden Hour of the Future for some better "found" tracks. The doc on the DVD is all-region, which is great, and fun to watch. H17 always seem like nice guys and like they have enjoyed their ride.
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