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Credo is part of a particular pop lineage that goes from Bowie, Roxy and Kraftwerk to Donna Summer, Chic and Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga, Usher and Girls Aloud.
Supremely infectious chart pop music with a twist of subversion. Credo manages to makes itself heard above the brashest state of the art pop productions and brings some of that primitive essence to the milieu, as well as The Human League s unique quality of apartness.
With OMD’s re-emergence and renewed interest in Sheffield compatriots Heaven 17, the timing seems right for a new album from The Human League. Lead singer Philip Oakey’s been relatively busy, dueting on both Pet Shop Boys’ This Used to Be the Future and with Little Boots in 2009. So, having only done short tours since 2001’s criminally overlooked Secrets, what does the band David Bowie described as "the sound of the future" sound like today; in the future, essentially?
Apparently little has changed: a characteristically manifesto-like title, nocturnal themes (Into the Night, Sky, Night People) and Oakey exchanging call/response vocals with Susan Sulley and Joanne Catherall across the throbbing crunch of electronics. They swing between Being Boiled and Heart Like a Wheel within every song, while seldom matching those heights.
But even latter-day League albums produced a stand-out track, a trend continued here with Never Let Me Go: a pop song The Saturdays would be proud of. Oakey's voice bubbling beneath Sulley’s lead vocal will wrongfoot fans expecting a return to the League’s earlier sound. It’s part of a strong opening trio: as pioneers of the remix album (check out 1982’s Love and Dancing), the crisp, vaguely acid synth line of Night People is cries out for an instrumental. But things soon wobble. Oakey provoked the dreaded Marmite phrase before it was coined, but he’s never so thoroughly explored the fine line between droll and dour.
The future apparently annoys him; Breaking the Chains has a light touch, but Privilege is like listening to a cabbie supporting the losing team, while on Get Together, Oakey just sounds miserable. Nonetheless, elsewhere it’s hard not to see a wry smile behind the wisdom of "keep your cornflakes in the freezer".
Their avoidance of guitars, drums or strings is admirable, although Single Minded uses machines to write a song only to discover they’re not plugged in. It’s a track that will send detractors of electronica into spasms of told-you-so satisfaction.
At times Credo sounds like The Human League of today trying to be The Human League of the past, which makes for uncomfortable listening. That said, it’s probably still better than it has any right to be, given the time between the group’s hits and their missing out on chart positions nowadays. They remain more influential than influenced, but this album adds little to their reputation. Although 10 years old itself, Secrets is a far stronger starting point for anyone interested in the 21st century phase of this classic band’s career.
Top Customer Reviews
First impressions are not that good, as we get fairly awful packaging and some very uninspiring artwork (only Joanne comes through it reasonably favourably). You've probably never seen a slimmer fold-out digi, which will scratch the CD within days. Why no sturdy jewel case option?
Onto the music itself - there are some half-decent tracks here, and it generally flows well, but why oh why did I Monster crank Phil's vocal so high in the mix on every track (bar Never Let Me Go)? I have listened to the album 4 times now, once on headphones, and the clarity/volume of his vocal against some very sparse backing tracks often grates, when it should be a plus. If he'd produced these himself as demos I could understand, but the producers have introduced the beginnings of a fresh, sophisticated sound, only to spoil this with the vocal balancing.
The songs themeslves vary from reasonable to mildly embarassing, highlights being Never Let Me Go (oddly), Night People (it sits much better on the album, trust me), Sky (which I love, a bit like Louise Part 2), Egomaniac (rather topical at this time, unfortunately, but nicely energised) and the completely OTT When The Stars Start To Shine. This closer is great, fun, whimsical and refreshingly different from the rest of the album....Read more ›
Of the 11 tracks here only 3 of them are on a par with any of the group's previous album and single material. The tracks funnily enough are listed in chronological order from 1-3 on the album. It's like the group knew this too.
The good tracks are 1. Never Let Me Go 2. Night People 3. Sky. After that you are advised to stop wasting your time and money. Believe you me I have tried to like the album... but compared to previous works it is absolutely DIRE, BLAND, UNMELODIC and BORING. Three good songs out of 11 do not make a good album. I've loved all the groups previous works since DARE. This is so bad that I've given ratings for all the groups albums prior to this.
Personally I prefer this album to Secrets, but I am probably in the minority.
I don't think Never Let Me Go is the best track to use as a single, but probably the most obvious choice as it's the most poppy. Night People was also a strange choice as it's basically a club tune and not the kind of track that Radio 2 were likely to play on rotation. I say Radio 2 because Radio 1 and other "hip" stations probably refused to play it!
I think Electric Shock would have made a better single to be honest, but that's my opinion. The rest of the album is great and has been put together very well by I-Monster. Sky is a favourite track of mine and very addictive. Breaking the Chains and When The Stars Start to Shine are also very good, the latter reminds me of early Heaven 17.
I would say that the album takes a few listens to really appreciate the quality of the production values. For those willing to persevere you will find the album enjoyable and wanting more.
If "Credo" doesn't exactly match the pioneering heights of their opening salvo, the standard-setting "Reproduction-Travelogue-Dare" triumvirate, it does nevertheless complete another satisfying trilogy of albums that started with 1995's "Octopus." Arguably the triplet of albums released in between ("Hysteria", "Crash" and "Romantic") represent the synthpop outfits' critical and commercial nadir, despite heralding some rare moments of brilliance (see "Human" and "Heart Like a Wheel")
Incredibly, "Credo" could well be the League's most consistent and accessible album since the multi-selling "Dare". Gone are the ephemeral instrumentals and sound experiments that punctuated much of previous album "Secrets"; instead, this focused and assured opus contains 11 well produced and contemporary all-vocal tracks that will appeal to fans of every facet of the HL's decade-traversing career.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Cd arrived on time,brilliant music from the human league,I recommend itPublished 1 month ago by mrs lisa davis
'Credo' is rather more dance floor orientated than any of the League's other albums and perhaps for that reason while a consistently enjoyable listen it lacks light and shade. Read morePublished on 16 May 2014 by Antony May
Saw the Human League in concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London an they sung song from their latest albums.....I did not know they had a new album!!! Read morePublished on 6 Feb. 2014 by I Saunders
I found it all a bit repetitive and not really any brilliant tracks for me. Mediocre and I was hoping for somethign a bit more genius.Published on 22 Jun. 2013 by Belinda Dawn Bryant
Credo is the best thing Human League have done in ages and it isn't because it's the first thing they have done in ages. Read morePublished on 24 Mar. 2013 by Paul Bridgeman Swansea
I have no way of rating this product as it is a present and therefore is unopened, but I fully expect it to be perfect. Read morePublished on 24 Dec. 2012 by Den A