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This review is from: Octopus (Audio CD)
I've got to know this album in 2005. I have not heard it before, coming from a country in which the band was never significantly important (apart from the well known singles from the 80s). Getting to know this album and appreciating it was not easy. I first found it to be sort of bland, with abysmal lyrics and simple dance beats. Nothing special.
But on re-listening the album a couple of times I started to discover how wonderful it sounds. The arrangements and the production (by Mark "Spike" Stent) are just perfect. The sounds are otherworldly, but warm and intriguing. Everything flows. The sound and production are flawless. I became so hooked on this album I even learned the lyrics by heart and found that most of them are actually quite acceptable - nothing deep, but sometimes they are quite inspiring ("One time in a lifetime / try to glimpse just who you are / all that learning / all these ages / have you really come so far?"). I can pardon the lyrics because of the radiance of the music and the personality of the band. Wonderful bunch of people.
The album is made up of 9 electro songs, some of them were actually return-hits for the band - Tell Me When? and One Man in My Heart (lyrics of the latter equal those of the infamous "The Lebanon", but the song is cute!).
Some people find Words and John Cleese - is he funny? to be fillers. I disagree. Words has really great lyrics (with the exception of the "Alexandra" part) and a dark moody feel, somehow reminding me of Being Boiled or Seconds. Filling up with Heaven is a heavenly track with a great synth lead and a fantastic chorus. Perfectly sung. Houseful of Nothing has great production and again the vocals and the power of the trio's voices is remarkable. Never Again is a moody love ballad which is one of the most unforgettable moments of this album, similar to Filling... and Houseful of Nothing. The closing Cruel Young Lover is a great anthem-like massive wall-of-sound piece, however the lyrics don't come up to the grandeur of the production. Anyway - a grand closing for a great album. Production top notch.
Taking aside the lyrics (IMHO of course) Octopus makes a wonderful synth-pop album, sounding modern even after all these years. It sounds somewhat similar to Madonna's Music from 2000. It is also the Human League album which I play the most. I never get bored with it. With each new listening I discover some more interesting cues, sounds and voices.