Soft Cell's Marc Almond and Dave Ball were the curious progenitors of bubbly, dance-inflected synth-pop. Throughout the '80s, the U.K.
Soft Cell's Marc Almond and Dave Ball were the curious progenitors of bubbly, dance-inflected synth-pop. Throughout the '80s, the U.K. duo's songs, laced with edgy and humorous themes, were a paean to the trash culture and consumerism of the day. When Soft Cell stormed the U.S. charts in 1982 with "Tainted Love," a lasting impression was forever made on the pop music landscape. Although subsequent singles would fail to match that same success in the States, Soft Cell continued to enjoy a successful and colorful career. Included here are highlights from the duo's glorious gender-bending, melodramatic, electro-driven, sleazy new-wave heyday: "Memorabilia," "Bedsitter," "Say Hello Wave Goodbye," "Where the Heart Is," "Numbers," and "Soul Inside," among others. Two new offerings ("Somebody Somewhere Sometime" and "Divided Soul") are signature Soft Cell, combining lyrical wit and sonic panache. With the duo's recently released new album (Cruelty Without Beauty), and the current nü-electro boom on both sides of the Atlantic, the timing couldn't be better for this disc.—CR