Ok so I am not a fan never knew much about Visage other than Fade to Grey and brought this off the back of a quick listen on Spotify and wow totally blown away, great hooks and melodies and sounding the most 80's of any of the comeback albums I have heard recently although sounding much fresher and catchier than they ever sounded back then. I am totally surprised to love this as much as I do and went to see them live in Brighton as a result that was not so great and I ended up feeling a bit sorry for Steve Strange he was clearly under the weather and the show lasted around an hour as a result.
Not a duff track on the cd and highly recommended to anyone who likes 80's music, great bass btw.
Best Tracks - Dreamer I know, Never Enough, On We Go
This album has blown me away,and not many albums do that.The quality of the song writing and the musical composition is simply stunning,with no duff tracks and more hooks than a hardware shop.I love the prominent use of guitar throughout and partnering that to the relentless synth beat is perfect.This album sounds,and even looks,fresh by today's standards.It's great to have Steve and crew back making such an impact again.More please !!!.
Great comeback album from Steve (x2) and new line-up, a few new style poppy tracks alongside some material that could've easily sat on The Anvil. Careful mix of old synth sounds and newer production, with exceptional guitar and bass work by Rob and Steve, which give it just the right vibe. Lauren's backing vocals are a nice touch, though maybe on some tracks Steve could've carried it on his own (though on the closer "Breathe Life" he struggles a bit).
Initially I rated as 4 stars but have revised up, as the tracks that were initially a bit too pop for my tastes have all grown on me! Highlights for me are Never Enough, Shameless Fashion, She's Electric, On We Go, Lost In Static, I Am Watching and Diaries of a Madman.
Available in plethora formats, and colours (initially), its worth noting the US digipack release has bonus Extended Mix of Shameless Fashion, which is now a hard CD single to track down at a reasonable price (its also the best mix of this track).
If plumping for vinyl the picture sleeve and inner photos all look wonderful in 12" format, but my white vinyl had a couple of murky brownish smudges (at manufacture) which do add some unpleasant surface noise briefly in intro of "And On We Go", which is a shame as its one of the highlights for me. I also got a red vinyl 180g and that played fine, so just the 'joys' of coloured vinyl I guess!
Wasn't really expecting much from this unexpected comeback album, but a heck of a surprise. This could easily have been recorded 30 years ago. Visage have made no attempt to update and modernise their sound, and this album is all the better for that. I've only listened to it once, but was thoroughly impressed with the quality of the songs. I expect this will become a favourite. Comeback albums, especially after such a long time often disappoint (Ultravox' s excellent album "Brilliant" is an exception), but this one is a cracker. Great front cover too. I really hope Steve Strange and crew do a follow up in a couple of years...there's legs in the Visage project.
I was sceptical when first ordered this cd,but I am absolutely blown away by this album, what an achievement from this very talented group of musicians, after a few plays every song gets in your head and you find yourself humming them all the time. I was a fan of Visage from day one and bought Fade to Grey on the day it was released, and every other record they made and I`ve got to say that this new album is every bit as quality as those original records. Well done Steve Strange for getting this project off the ground 10 out of 10
I have to admit that I was a little bit worried about the idea of a "new" album from Visage.Having been such a die-hard fan since 1980,the fragmentation of the group over the years and Steve's occasionally erratic forays into the public eye had cast a few doubts about how a new recording would sound.
I am delighted to say that I have not stopped playing this CD since it arrived last week-it has such a great collection of melodic,well produced and memorable songs.Steve's voice is superb and well complemented by Lauren's,though never overpowered by it. The guitar from Robin Simon is as angular and dynamic as it ever was on the finest moments of "Systems of Romance". Special mention too to the analogue synths,played beautifully by Logan Sky amongst others.The sound design is superb throughout. The standout tracks for me (if I have to choose-every one is a killer) are: "On We Go"-such a dramatic and unforgettable piece with the most gorgeous synth playing I have heard in years, "Lost In Static"-a very smooth,haunting and emotional track and finally "Hidden Sign" which has a melody line which burns into your brain.
Like all previous Visage releases,the sleeve artwork is stunning.Cover shot by Ashworth,but the piece de resistance for me is David Levine's inner centrefold pic-totally stunning! Lyrics are provided and also a list of synths used for each track,which was most welcome for a synth-geek like me!
All in all I heartily recommend this album to anyone who has even a passing interest in Visage and great modern electronic pop.
I have been looking forward to hearing this and it was worth the wait. Really good album, lots of really catchy songs, Steve sounds great and loved the use of the old analogue equipment. Great to hear from Visage after all these years.
Rather than Visage they should have named themselves Homage as rather than a return to the original Visage sound this is more a homage to the sound of the 80's with swathes of synth and guitar that at times remind me of The Human League, Duran Duran, Japan, Ultravox and many other synth bands. Much is made in the marketing that this harks back to the first two Visage albums but as many reviewers have already said this is more reminiscent of Beat Boy. Not a surprise as the only member here who was involved in the first two albums is Steve Strange, with the only other past Visage member being Steve Barnacle from the Beat Boy era. As a big Visage fan it must be said that the sound of the first two albums had more to do with the input of the classically trained piano and synth players Billy Currie (+ violin) and Dave Formula and the creative production skills of Midge Ure than anything else and this is obviously missing on this album. The original plan of involving classically trained keyboard and viola player Chris Payne (ex-Tubeway Army and co-writer of Fade To Grey) could have re-created that sound but sadly it was not to be (maybe next time?). My biggest concern about this album was the problem with both Beat Boy and the Strange Cruise project, Steve's voice. It has to be said Steve Strange can't sing (just listen to any of his live performances on YouTube if you dare and you'll see what I mean) and it only sounded like he could on the first two albums due to Ure's recording methods and clever editing. Here he has reverted to what he did in Strange Cruise and has a girl singer to sing the melody line with him, a bit like a guide dog for the tone deaf. It's a shame as for many of the songs on H&K his singing isn't half bad. Overall the album is a lot better than I expected or even hoped. The songs are pretty catchy and after repeated listening I've yet to get bored and the bouncy 80's synth sound is great. The real gem here though is the involvement of guitarist Robin Simon (Ultravox/Magazine - quite apt as he was the guitarist after John McGeogh and before Midge Ure who were both in Visage). It's worth buying this album just to hear his masterpiece guitar playing which really does increase the quality of the music 10 fold. My fav's here are Never Enough, Shameless Fashion, She's Electric, Hidden Sign, On We Go (which sounds like early Human League) and Lost In Static. This is a great first stab at a retro 80's album and ornate, fur trimmed, leather hats off to Mr Strange for finally getting it together in relaunching the Visage project at last. I hope it will mean another album could be on the cards, I would suggest retaining the skills of Robin Simon and Steve Barnacle and bringing in the aforementioned Chris Payne and, of course, Rusty Egan, therefore ensuring an even closer match to the early Visage sound. I live in hope.