Human League - Secrets (Papillon)
You've got the feel somewhat sorry for Phil Oakey and co. Despite such a fabulous record for innovation and quality music, from their early days as industrial-influenced electro pioneers, through their groundbreaking electropop classic "Dare" up to this album, they're still mainly known for that song. You know the one, it's been butchered by an awful ad recent. As a result, despite releasing this cracking piece of electronica last year (now re-released with a couple of extra tracks), they're still stuck on the 80s revival circuit with school disco-type crap rather than up there with the nu-electro scene where they should be.
It should be no surprise to anyone that this album doesn't fit easily any genre, explaining why it fell between the cracks last year and failed to make an impact, but there's more than enough here to appeal to fans of Fischerspooner and VNV Nation alike. Hard-hitting electro beats, storming synths and the band's trademark of Phil's deep voice offset by the female voices of Joanne Catherall and Susan Anne Gayle.
Kicking off with the fabulous 'All I ever wanted', the album threads their own trademarked sound through with elements of dance music to produce an absolutely contemporary sounding, while also sophisticated and mature, selection. Rather than go through the album like a shopping list, it's enough to say that there isn't a duff track on here, but there is a delicious amount of variety that's beyond the abilities of just about any band that carry their influence.
The inclusion of 'All I ever wanted' on the recent DAC compilation, "Advanced Electronics", alongside the likes of Felix da Housecat, I-F, VNV Nation and Apoptygma Berzerk, is a good sign that a bit of open-mindedness will lift the Human League out of the nostalgia circuit and give them a new lease of life. A re-release of that single with the right mixes could do wonders. Anyway, that aside, if you are anyway interested in electronic music and haven't heard this yet, check out the undeniable masters at work.