Reviews & Recommendations
Luring disco dollies
to a life of vice
-- Sex Dwarf
Soft Cell
(Marc Almond & Dave Ball)
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" The synth-pop duo format, later favoured by the likes of Pet Shop Boys and Erasure, had its genesis here: the flamboyant front man backed up by inanimate keyboard player. If critics bemoaned the lack of emotion in electronic music, they'd reckoned without the decidedly colourful undertones that ran through everything Soft Cell touched - every song was a glorious celebration of the darker side of life, the side where dancing, drugs, and decadence loom large…

(...) Soft Cell struck gold with a cover of Gloria Jones's 'Tainted Love' in 1981, which would become the biggest selling single of the year. The band's debut album, 'Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret', was released later that year, a trashy pulp novel of an album whose cover saw Almond and Ball bathed in the neon glow of Soho's gaudy sex shops...

(...) Tainted Love' was to become something of an albatross to the band, as they seemed to fight commercial success with the release of their second album proper, 'The Art Of Falling Apart', in 1983. Its tone and imagery lacked some of the irony and humour of their debut: dwelling on failed relationships, prostitution and housewife drug abuse, it was no easy ride.

However, there were internal problems with Almond and Ball as the work increasingly veered towards self-loathing. The problems increased during the making of the third and final album, 'This Last Night In Sodom', which was released in 1984. An immensely powerful and angry album with its recurring images of darkness and despair, it saw the band split prior to its release.

Although their active career spanned a mere four years, Soft Cell sold over 10 million records worldwide."
-- Nick Coquet ,

Recommended Soft Cell Videos:

Soft Cell: Live in Milan
DVD - 2002

"This show from an Italian nightclub early in 2002 sees them delivering a storming set of the old and the new - ostensibly to promote the at the time forthcoming new album Cruelty Without Beauty - and with all the original bleeps, blops and blurbles lovingly sequenced in all the right places – there are no crap attempts at being all hip (hop) and noughties on us from these guys – and no need for it when they still sound so damned good today." --

Tracklisting: 1)Memorabilia 2)Monoculture 3)Heat 4)Divided Soul 5)Last Chance 6)Youth 7)Best Way To Kill 8)The Art Of Falling Apart 9)Somebody Sometime 10)Baby Doll 11)Torch 12)Bedsitter 13)Tainted Love 14)Where Did Our Love Go? 15)Say Hello Wave Goodbye 16)Martin 17)Sex Dwarf

 Soft Cell Discography - Album / CD Reviews

***¾ 1981: Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret audio

"From the word go, the infectious electro beat provided a relentless backing to Almond's titillating tales of bedsit land, with its themes of secret lives and seedy films. While their pop rivals were singing of futuristic glamour, Soft Cell's imagery was straight from the gutter, and they revelled in it. The album yielded further hit singles in 'Bedsitter' and the sublime 'Say Hello, Wave Goodbye'. "
-- Nick Coquet ,

***¼ 1982: Non-Stop Ecstatic Dancingaudio
"was first released in June 1982 as a mini-LP of dance mixes. (...) In its original incarnation, "Non-Stop Ecstatic Dancing" was a decent release, but the "Sex Dwarf" wasn't the only undersized thing about the album, which was a mini-LP for a maxi-price. (...) The [1998] re-release is a much more desirable item than the 1992 version. Back then, "Non-Stop Ecstatic Dancing" was what you bought if you had all the other Soft Cell discs and just had to have more. The considerably fatter re-release is, however, an essential. Then I'd have recommended "The Art Of Falling Apar"t as the purchase of choice for someone who'd already got "Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret" and wanted more. Now it makes a lot more sense to buy the releases in the order they originally appeared in."
-- Al Crawford,, 9/98

***1983: The Art Of Falling Apart
"Due to a mix of artistic duress (Ball was sick of appearances by this point) and pressure from the British tabloids, the strains of success could be heard in their second proper outing, 'The Art Of Falling Apart'. Despite one fairly sound and well-produced single (Where The Heart Is), the record's confused content laid to rest an already stiffened U.S. market. But in the U.K. even the skewed addition of a Hendrix medley on the album didn't stop it from charting as high as any of their previous long players."
-- Joe Silva, Consumable

*** 1984: This Last Night In Sodom
"What the music on this album reveals is why Soft Cell split up shortly after releasing it. While it's easily their most mature album musically, it's difficult to see where they could have gone from here. More accurately, it's difficult to see where Dave Ball could have gone from here, as the balance of The Art Of Falling Apart has given way to a sound and aesthetic that hinted at Marc Almond's burgeoning solo career. (...)
The album's sound is as rock as Soft Cell ever got. While synths still abound, guitars are everywhere and the instrumentation is generally a lot more conventional. It really beefs up the sound in places, and this suits Almond's angrier approach, but it does make the album sound a lot less recognizably like Soft Cell."
-- Al Crawford,, 9/98

***¾ 1986: Soft Cell: The Singles audio
Probably all you will ever need to catch up with Soft Cell. A chronological collection of their singles.

***½ 1991: Memorabilia - The Singles audio
A collection of Soft Cell and Marc Almond's greatest hits, with '91 remixed dance versions of most songs.

*** 2002: Cruelty Without Beauty audio
Track Listing: 1-Darker Times 2-Monoculture 3-Le Grand Guignol 4-The Night 5-Last Chance 6-Together Alone 7-Desperate 8-Whatever It Takes 9-All Out Of Love 10-Sensation Nation 11-Caligula Syndrome 12-On An Up
"This is the first album for eighteen years from this hugely successful 80's pop band. Released on the back of a successful comeback tour the album has all the familiar sounds of the bands previous releases. 'Monoculture' the first single which is released on 16th September, borders on being a carbon copy of one of their last singles namely 'Memorabilia'. My favorite song is 'The Night' which is an upbeat dance track which should have been released as the first single to make sure it will get plenty of air play. (...) Soft Cell offer no new suprises from the their latest offering, preferring instead to stick with the same familiar formula. This album is likely not to win them any new fans, but will retain the approval of their already ardent supporters."

2006: Demo Non-Stop
Track Listing: 1. Frustration 2. Facility Girl 3. Secret Life 4. Man Can Get Lost 5. Persuasion 6. Cleansing Fanatic 7. As Advertised 8. Babes In Consumerland 9. When We Go Marching 10. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
"'Demo Non-Stop' is a collection of demo's from the sessions of Soft Cell's multi platinum debut: 'Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret' which was the first album released in 1981 by the groundbreaking synthpop / New Wave duo Soft Cell. The album's critical and commercial success was bolstered by the worldwide success of its single Tainted Love, a cover version of a little-known R&B song by Gloria Jones which topped charts worldwide and became the best selling British single of 1981 in the United States. The album went on to produce a string of Top-5 singles in the UK, including Bedsitter, Torch, and the unapolagetically sentimental Say Hello, Wave Goodbye. Now the newly resurrected Some Bizarre Records is releasing the best of the (until now) unreleased demos from the sessions of the album, including an early version of the hit single Say Hello, Wave Goodbye. An essential addition to any Soft Cell, or Marc Almond fan's collection."

Recommended Links:

Marc Almond's Theatre

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Marc Almond | Pet Shop Boys | Depeche Mode | Kraftwerk | Erasure | Human League | Ultravox | Visage | Psyche

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