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Penthouse and Pavement? "Loadsaaaa' money!",
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This review is from: Penthouse And Pavement (Audio CD)
Its a strange analogy, but some 30 years ago synthesizers were possibly akin to social-networking. It was a development that everybody felt they 'had' to accustom to, and as such, some were prepared to use the technology righteously, some plain hideously! For the latter, you would need to look no further than Steve Winwood's abuse of a Casio keyboard from around 1982, when MIDI was popularised.
Heaven 17 were perhaps unique then in that, thanks to their talented musicianship, they knew how to work around such instruments in a positive manner. Enter 'Penthouse and Pavement', the ultimate satire of 'Yuppy' culture that spawned from the likes of Thatcherism and new capitalist ideals for the young working man - commonly viewed as owning a dodgy clip-on ponytail and primitive mobile phone. The album artwork itself demonstrates the new rush of a society plagued by expectation and achievement, flawed by a means of greed.
As such, 'Penthouse and Pavement' was produced in a manner resembling 1980's 'Power Music' - that which got our subject ready for a board meeting, eager to rally the troops. On face value, the present tracks mimic this situation well, but is laden with all manner of lyrics that highlight issues of the time. So memorable are these lines that you're confused as whether or not to stand up and wiggle wildly to the busy 'Fascist Groove Thing', or punch the air at the Cold War relic 'Lets All Make a Bomb'. No matter which you choose to do, the album is obsessive in its own right. One listen to 'Height of the Fighting' would put anyone a high.
Counter this album to the bands "The Luxury Gap", and its ultimately clear that the only gap present is in quality. You won't want to skip any track on 'Penthouse and Pavement' as, just as all classic albums do, the listener appreciates the work of the artist in its entirety. As such, what we have here is marvelous piece of work that, from start to finish, outlines issues that are probably more apparent now than they have been since its initial release.