Thursday, 7 January 2010

League of Gentlemen

When I was at school and electronic music was quite the post punk novelty I didn’t a have much money for buying records. This was quite some decades before the all you can eat excesses for the digital download generation of the last few years. I managed to do something right at school, for a change, and my father deiced to reward me with a couple of albums. One was Replicas by Tubeway Army, which was great at the time, and Travelogue by the Human League which was great at the time and is still great today.

When I could scrape together the money, I got Reproduction, but it was a disappointment. What seemed like an age later they split and re-formed with girls who could barely sing, and made an album that was such a sell-out I gave up on them, disgusted. I went to see them, very close to Christmas in 1981, when they were number one with ‘Don’t You Want Me’. I was still disgusted, and refused to enjoy myself watching them at their peak.

Looking back, I was wrong, and obviously Dare is a classic in a different light. It’s still not quite for me, though I’m very fond of ‘Open Your Heart’ and 'Love Action'.

Whenever this pops on a playlist it takes me right back. Aged about fourteen, putting a record on I had heard of only by reputation. This, the first track, and ‘WXJL Tonight’ the closing track are timeless classics.


Mondo said...

With you all the way VS. Travelogue was their finest moment for me..I had a few singles Being Boiled, Empire State Human and even the the pre-Dare Tom Baker bought from a bargain bin (ironically I remember thinking well it's all over for them now). Dare was a disappointment - it's too sugary and souless. The remix album Love and Dancing was more my thing - great versh of Hard Times too. If you haven't got it you must get Visgage's first album, which sits perfectly alongside Travelogue and Replicas. Trust Me it's a killer. And surely you've got Soft Cell's Non Stop?

Five-Centres said...

I agree entirely. I'm a huge fan of all League numbers bar Don't You Want Me, or Don't You Want Me Baby as the Guilty Pleasures crowd insist on calling it. If I hear it again, I'll scream.

It's Sound Of The Crowd for me, with it's pulsing beat, gnashing synths and properly Eighties new romantic non-sensical lyrics.

Ishouldbeworking said...

I have a fondness for 'Reproduction', as my intro to the Human League came when I caught a late-night showing of 'So It Goes', on which they did 'The Path of Least Resistance'. It felt like I'd found the band I'd been looking for all my life. I absolutely got it. But 'Travelogue' as an album is unbeatable, absolutely majestic.

I sneered at 'Dare' as stuff I was way too cool for by then, though hearing it now it reminds me of quite an amazing time in my life. And I still think 'Seconds' works well.

Who still digs out 'Penthouse and Pavement' by Heaven 17, then? I still love 'Fascist Groove Thang', me.

Valentine Suicide said...

Was never a fan of Soft Cell, at the time, and never really been back. I must have had the Visage album, though it's all something of a blur.

I like Penthouse AND The Luxury Gap. Still can't resist Let Me Go.