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Soft Cell's messy adieu from 1984 -,
This review is from: This Last Night in Sodom (Audio CD)
'This Last Night...in Sodom' was Soft Cell's messy adieu from 1984, the result of an announced 'retirement' following Marc Almond's meltdown which involved Marc & the Mambas, a whip and a music journalist. They'd stopped having hits (ironically with two great singles 'Where the Heart Is' & 'Numbers'), Dave Ball's 'In Strict Tempo' had him record with Genesis P-Orridge and Gavin Friday, while Almond's Mambas-material was set on auto-destruct ('Catch a Fallen Star', 'A Million Manias'). Soft Cell took to murdering Suicide's 'Ghost Rider' with Foetus' Jim Thirwell , as Almond was briefly in The Immaculate Consumptives (with Nick Cave, Lydia Lunch & Thirwell) as well as guesting on Psychic TV's 'Force the Hand of Chance' (on the fantastic 'Guiltless'). Soft Cell were anti-pop here; the reformed 21st Century version of SC returned to the classic pop of 'Non Stop Erotic Cabaret' and much of 'The Art of Falling Apart.'
Almond & Ball were apparently aiming for a blend of amphetamines & R'N'B, opener 'Mr Self Destruct' epitomises this approach with harmonica, dirty organ as Almond seems to invite self-destruction "shooting the 'A'" and all that. 'Slave to This'is very Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV - a babble of Almond raps colliding with each other as Ball goes for an industrial sound.'Little Rough Rhinestone' meanwhile shows that Almond & Ball could still do pop if they wanted - which tracks like 'Surrender to a Stranger' & bonus-track 'Disease & Desire' similarly highlight.
The album gets darker with the Cell's darkest moment 'Meet Murder My Angel' (even darker than 'Baby Doll' & 'Martin')which has a New Order-style sound set to Almond's lyrics regarding homicide,"You're shaking all over - it's time to cross over the threshold..." and "another kind of love." Creepy stuff...'The Best Way to Kill' offers up some glam-punk, with Almond contributing 'mammoth tremhold blitz guitar' on a stomp influenced by a tabloid article on capital punishment! 'L'Esquilata' is an epic 7-minute ode to the world of the night, the music sounding like a post-punk take on 'Get Carter' while the tag-line ("We could go out to dinner, but we're always on drugs") originates from Anita Lane...
The farewell single 'Down in the Subway' covers obscure Beat-associate Jack Hammer, and is followed by the electronic-pop abandon of 'Surrender to a Stranger'- another track that could be seen as a precursor of the sleazier Depeche Mode records of the mid to late 1980s and a counterpoint to Pet Shop Boys' 'Rent.' The earlier single 'Soul Inside' remains a joy, though the epic 12"-version is even more wonderful; while the album ends on the bleak 'Where Was Your Heart (When You Needed It Most)'- which again sounds very 'Black Celebration'/'Masses'-Depeche Mode (...just a few years before!)
The bonus tracks stem from the 'Soul Inside' & 'Down in the Subway' singles and are also found on 'The Twelve Inch Singles' - 'Disease & Desire' really should have made the album proper and there's a spirited thrash through Johnny Thunders' 'Born to Lose.' The Bond-covers are curios, but the chestnut here remains the BBC-session 'Her Imagination', which remains for me one of their greatest moments.