Pioneering groups like Kraftwerk and Cabaret Voltaire have long been recognized as trailblazers in electronic music.
Pioneering groups like Kraftwerk and Cabaret Voltaire have long been recognized as trailblazers in electronic music. Add the often overlooked Fad Gadget to this list of influential acts. As evidenced by this mesmerizing, quintessentially early-'80s two-disc collection of singles, B-sides, and remixes, Fad Gadget—aka Frank Tovey—laid the groundwork for a generation of synth bands, starting in 1979 as Mute's first signing. From such early tracks as the bubbly "Fireside Favourite" to later singles like 1983's brassy "I Discover Love" and melodic "Collapsing New People," this British outfit helped forge a spare, beat-driven sound that blended the best of pop, industrial, and punk. More emotive than Gary Numan, rougher around the edges than The The, Fad Gadget helped pave the way for Human League, Soft Cell, and Depeche Mode—whose 2001 European Exciter tour featured Fad Gadget as an opener—as well as later synth-heavy bands. Perhaps overdue recognition will finally be forthcoming.—WH