The first set in 17 years from a reunited Soft Cell is due this year from Cooking Vinyl.

The first set in 17 years from a reunited Soft Cell is due this year from Cooking Vinyl. In the meantime, revisit the electro duo's wondrous 1982 debut. Yes, "Tainted Love" endures as a hypnotic pop classic—and this remastered edition includes its famous 12" mix that segues into "Where Did Our Love Go." But it's the rest of the album that warrants further consideration, from melancholy European follow-up hits "Bedsitter" and "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye" to such lurid fare as "Seedy Films" and "Sex Dwarf," or bitter tales about the tribulations of modern life like "Frustration" and "Chips on My Shoulder." Vocalist Marc Almond's off-key wailing and Dave Ball's bubbly but dark synthesizer riffs presage developments in every genre from dance to grunge. Soft Cell was always ahead of its time—the proof was there from the beginning.—WH