This anthology of the British synthpop groups’ greatest moments is proof of why it’s borderline criminal that they are often but a footnote in the history writing of synthesizer-driven pop and 80’s pop in general, but at the same time also ample evidence of why it’s nonetheless understandable that it is so.
The first three tracks on the CD, Messages, Electricity and Enola Gay, are all some of the best pop music ever written. Upbeat, naïvely melodic songs that are catchy as Hell and with a beat that just makes you want to dance with abandon, kind of like Andy McCluskey at least used to do on stage… dance like nobody’s watching, you know.
And the rest, the remaining 17 tracks: some highlights, true, but the drop in quality is just too big to be ignored. And it’s not just that the rest of the tracks aren’t as good, they aren’t visionary in the same way as the opening trio. The three first songs are bigger than life, the rest are just songs. And as the anthology progresses towards the 90’s, there’s less and less innovation and more and more trite, dime-a-dozen pop. It’s a shame really, because the three first tracks are just as good as Speak & Spell by Depeche Mode, or even better.
The DVD features a comprehensive collection of videos, most of which are utterly crude technically and artistically, but still possess a certain charm of a more innocent and less professional time, when music videos were made with a cheap budget and no fear of trying out even the silliest ideas. Good fun, and bears to be watched more than once.
…just look at him dance away!