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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars

on 19 December 2005
Excellent new album from Heaven 17 - it took a while coming (the band has spent several years working on this one), but it was well worth the wait!
Opening with the funky "I'm Gonna Make You Fall In Love With Me" Glenn and co. instantly update the Temptation sound and do exactly what they say in the song title: a good album opener. "Hands Up To Heaven" has had some remix treatment recently, and here on the album you can hear the original mix. It's a wonderful pop track, Duran Duranies would put their hands up too. "The Way It Is" is pure divatronica: a standout track, with hints of Depeche Mode and Donna Summer. "Freedom From Love" has breakbeats and crooning; Glenn's voice seduces you to come live with him in this slower melancholic number; perhaps a track or two too early on the album, nonetheless it's a real grower. "Don't Fear The Reaper" starts well, but gets a bit beached around the halfway point; it seems to lack some of the polish from the rest of the album. Like a lost Yello snowball, the only thing missing from "Into The Blue" is a Billy Mackenzie backing vocal. Glenn Gregory delivers exceptional vocals, while Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware produce a terrific atmosphere complete with Spanish guitars; great song-writing, this is the _other_ stand-out track! "What Would It Take" is reminiscent of the classic but under-appreciated HOW MEN ARE album but it's 21st century now and this slick number on Before After is pure R&B; heavenly female vocals on backing and shared lead.
The ten tracks here were all made with complete 'musical freedom' This could have resulted in average sounds, but thankfully Heaven 17 are far too professional for that to happen. Before After is certainly up there with the Luxury Gap album; it's their best in years.
Note this UK edition has a bonus track 10. Are you ready?
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on 3 January 2006
It goes everywhere I go - this deep, moving, effervescent collection of music - G5, Nano, Car Stereo, or just in my mind as I lay it down at night! The years which have passed since Bigger Than America melt away upon the first listen to Before/After, and the comfort of recognizing a good friend, in fine form take you into this album's special world. The time and patience to release something really special shows all over every track on BeforeAfter...make no mistake...
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on 16 December 2005
After nearly eight years and a few problems with record labels Heaven 17 are back. Before After showcases the talent of the Trio by giving the listener a cd full of high energy feel good grooves. Starkly different from any of there previous recordings B/A focuses more on dance music with 10 outstanding tracks for once a group has given us an album that contains no fillers. Glenn Gregory's voice is up to his usual outstanding standard and Martyn Ware and Ian Craig-Marsh do an excellent job with the instrumentation. Do not be put off by the groups retro label these chaps are pioneers of the UK dance scene and have influenced groups such as Depeche mode and Richard X, with there addictive beats.
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on 15 December 2005
Your CD collection will not be complete without this album!
It's always easy to heap praise on a group you have been a fan of from the very start of their career.
The pioneers of dance music from the beginning of the 1980's have produced what has to be one of their best albums to date. Their first ground breaking album Penthouse & Pavement has always been an icon, defining the music of the early 80's, but never truly gaining the accolades it really deserved.
Heaven 17 certainly have not failed in maintaining the highest possible standards of electronica with outstanding tracks on this album. Glenn Gregory's voice is as good today as it was 25 years ago and the quality of the music from Ian Craig Marsh & Martyn Ware continues to break new barriers. Its contemporary, its dancey, its music for now.
If you like upbeat electronica mixed with unbelievably good ballads with great lyrics, buy this album!
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on 14 December 2005
..and that's no exagerration!..9 years on from messrs Gregory, Marsh and Ware's last album and the wait has most definately been worth it...possibly their best album since "How men are" and certainly their best since "Pleasure One"...there's something for everyone on this outing..soul,pop,dance and even a little gospel thrown in for good measure...songs like 'deeper and deeper','what would it take' and 'someone for real' are right up there with their classic early stuff.
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on 14 December 2005
Outstanding H17 tracks I'm Gonna Make You Fall In Love With Me, Hands Up To Heaven, The Way It Is (very scissor sisterish),
What Would It Take, Someone For Real and the fantastic Are You Ready? Not a poor track on the album including a great cover version of the Blue Oyster classic, Don't Fear The Reaper. One of the best cds produced this year. Highly recommended.
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on 11 October 2010
I really enjoyed the group's acid-house-influenced album "Bigger than America", but given how inconsistent their output has been in the past, I wasn't particularly expecting a continuation of the same form. But 3 years after I bought "Before After", it's my most listened-to Heaven 17 album.

The emphasis is on funkiness rather than tunes, but don't be put off, because the funkiness is total. This record seems to be the result of years of dedicated research into the scientific essence of dance music; the result is grooves that deliver instant hits to exactly the right parts of your brain, every time.

What makes this album work so well is that it is completely contemporary: there's no attempt to recreate their "old sound", though it's still instantly recognisable as the group. They are, of course, essentially producers, and they've kept abreast of the latest dance sounds while adding their own polish, subtlety and ear for detail.

I don't care much for the slow "What Would It Take?" and "Someone for Real"; and the cover of "Don't Fear the Reaper" is an interesting experiment that outstays its welcome. But everything else here is great, from the full-on funk of "I'm Gonna Make You Fall in Love with Me", through the gloriously uplifting disco of "Deeper and Deeper", to the mellow chill-out vibe of "Into the Blue".

As ever, the group purvey an expansive, optimistic sound; while not exactly charismatic, they can always be relied on for the feel-good factor.
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on 23 January 2006
Heaven 17 have made many terrific records over the eyears but with 'BeforeAfter' they've really outdone themselves.
If they don't return to the top of the charts with this record, the music business is more screwed up than we all think it is.. If you liked their music before, or even if you just like really good danceable pop, just buy this record. It's fantastic! Very modern, very pop, yet unmistakeably them.
Oh, I found a place where you can hear some of the tracks before you buy - go to the band's website at heaven17.com..
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on 6 September 2009
Heaven 17 have only improved with age.Glenn's voice is amazing and the tracks are modern,very catchy and you'll be singing and dancing to them all day .
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on 17 April 2006
A highly creative band. It's nice to see them do another quality album, except it doesn't quite hit the mark as 'Bigger than America' album from 97, which is a classic. I was hoping for another of the same, as they are geniuses on their's synth's. Glenn Gregory has still one of the best vocal's I've heard. Great live. This one just sounds a bit over produced. There isn't any really standout tracks as such apart from a slow mover with a harpsicord, Lovely track. Maybe I need to listen to it more and over time I will hopefully change my mind.
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