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THE THREE PROFESSORS OF SYNTH POP
on 31 July 2008
Heaven 17 made intelligent, catchy and classic singles. They pushed the envelope on what could be acheived with a sequencer and a synth and, in frontman Glenn Gregory, they had a singer with a totally unique voice.
The Luxury Gap is Heaven 17's second album and the record that truely broke the band big in the Uk and across Europe.
Of course the big hit was the magnificent 'Temptation' - it still sounds great today and is totally unique. Driving drums and funky bassline, huge operatic harmonies from the band and Carole Kenyon's wonderful vocals. 'Temptation' is without doubt one of the key British singles of the early 80's and deserved to make number 1 (it peaked at no. 2). 'Come Live With Me' also graced the top 5 and is almost as suductive - massive chorus, smart and slightly creepy lyrics and Gregory's spot on lead vocal.
But there was always more to H17 than just the hits - 'Let Me Go' and the storming 'Key To The World' are both underated gems and 'Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry' is the sound of a band having fun. There are some lazy fillers, and the lyrics often veer from smart to nonsensicle, but there wasn't any other band around at the time who could mix live instruments and electronics together with such panache. In Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware Heaven 17 also had visionary studio boffins who were happy to experiment within the mainstream and literally 'invent' as they went along.
That The Luxury Gap still holds up 25 years later is recommendation enough.