25 November 2010

Synthpop symphonies

For me, this has been the best music geek week in a long time.


I’m not into nostalgia. I don’t listen to music for the memories. I mean, I can tell you my memories about The Human League. How my present to myself after graduating high school was listening to their new album Hysteria for the first time, for instance. But that’s not important. The Human League has always been about the future (they were even called The Future in one early incarnation), never the past.

I am happy that that The Human League is still releasing music more than 30 years after their first strange experimental electronic recordings. It’s been a long, long wait between every album, but every one has invariably worked its way into my head in a way that not many other artists manage.

It’s not too long until their next album, Credo. And their first single, released Monday, is a wonderful tribute to nightlife.

What’s better than a brand new hero? An old hero who hasn’t lost it.

I know, I know, I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again.

But I love brand new heroes, too.


The Human League has many descendants, but one of the truest is probably Parralox. I have just now downloaded Metropolis, their third album, today. Like The Human League, Parralox are all about the future – although it’s sometimes a future imagined in the early twentieth century. Even the title of the new album brings to mind Fritz Lang’s silent film classic of the same name. Their lyrics often draw on classic science fiction ideas, and the minimalist art direction also brings to mind the optimism of art deco. Type nerds will even pick out these elements in their logo (set in Futura).

In both bands, I love the female voices against warm synth sounds, and the smart words with infectious melodies.

Until Little Boots announces when her second album is coming out, Credo and Metropolis will be stuck on my iPod for a long time.

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