Soft Cell : Cruelty Without Beauty

Veteran electro-pop sleaze duo's latest

While non-stop may be over-stretching things a bit, Soft Cell‘s cabaret remains exotic. As before, attempts to explore London’s seedy underbelly verge on hamfisted and voyeuristic. But, again as before, Soft Cell really flourish with Marc’s relationship horror stories, which happens on two songs: ‘Last Chance’ (“two people past their prime, and how it shows” – quiet at the back please), and ‘Whatever It Takes’, a tale of trundling into middle-age and running out of kicks.

In fact, those two tracks are well up there with ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’, but elsewhere ‘Cruelty Without Beauty’ is ample warning that in pop the true art isn’t in the falling apart, but in the piecing back together. And if you’ve forgotten where all the bits go, you’ve got your work cut out.

Peter Robinson