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Electronic/Dance - Released July 26, 2019 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)


Pop - Released September 7, 2018 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

This single-CD compilation collects all the singles by '80s new romantic/synth pop duo Soft Cell. Fronted by the flamboyant Marc Almond, the group were chart fixtures for many years with their arresting combo of melodic, then-futuristic synthetic pop and dark, melancholy, almost Baroque lyrics. Alongside their biggest hits like "Tainted Love" and "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye," the album also contains the newly composed double-A-side single "Northern Lights"/"Guilty ('Cos I Say You Are)." [A comprehensive five-CD version, Keychains & Snowstorms: The Soft Cell Story, is also available in the UK, containing B-sides, rarities, remixes, and live recordings.] ~ John D. Buchanan

Rock - Released January 1, 2008 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

4 stars out of 5 -- "The Manhattan Clique Remix of 'Bedsitter' is excellent...a long, tense build based on that cool double-speed bassline at the end of the original."

Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Although a vinyl box set appeared during the early 1980s, and several of the mixes therein were subsequently appended to CD reissues of Soft Cell's regular albums, 1999's three-CD The Twelve Inch Singles represented the first ever corralling of the duo's entire extended remix output, and with it, undying evidence for Soft Cell's claim to immortality. Great 45s and terrific albums told only part of the story, after all. Across their earliest 12" singles, the sequence that led from "Memorabilia" to "Torch," Soft Cell utterly rejuvenated a format that had been growing increasingly stale and uninspired, not only offering purchasers more music for their money, but ensuring that it was music they'd actually want, as opposed to an extra few minutes of beat nailed onto the outro. And so "Tainted Love" segued into a breathless lament through "Where Did Our Love Go?"; "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye," commenced with a three minute-plus clarinet solo, and "Torch" descended into a spoken word passage in which guest vocalist Cindi Ecstacy reduces Almond's attempts at fawning fan worship to ashes. Later in life, with the duo now bucking against the European Top 40 fame that had so unexpectedly embraced them, Soft Cell's 12"s stretched even further. Routinely doubling the length of the familiar 45s, the hysterical angst of the B-side "It's a Mug's Game," the haunting dismissiveness of "Numbers," and the percussive self-destruction of "Soul Inside" transformed songs that weren't that friendly to begin with into veritable fire storms of assaultive dynamics. By the time one reaches the final salvo of releases -- a pair of James Bond covers, a forgotten BBC radio session, and the electric "Down in the Subway" -- Soft Cell were all but unrecognizable as the sweet young things who sang "Tainted Love" just three years before. Their final single closed with a brittle cover of the Heartbreakers' "Born to Lose," and so, it seemed, it had turned out. Soft Cell broke up not because they wanted to, but because it was the only way they could ever achieve what they really needed. Completing and concluding the saga, the The Twelve Inch Singles package closes with four 1991 remixes. The initial 1999 release, however, also packed a "Club 69 Future Mix" of "Tainted Love," a track whose inclusion apparently so dismayed Marc Almond that he requested the release be withdrawn before issue (around 4,000 copies escaped to the stores). It finally returned to stores in 2001 with a revised version omitting the offending mix and, quite honestly, it isn't really missed. ~ Dave Thompson