James Christopher Sheppard reviews
by The Human League
Original new wave band, The Human League, have just released their ninth studio album, Credo, their first release in ten years. Best known for their huge 1981 hit ‘Don’t You Want Me’, The Human League have enjoyed continued moderate success for the past thirty years. Never straying from their new wave synthpop roots, this release should keep fans of their past work happy, but will it offer them anything they haven’t heard before? In a pop landscape where electro synth 80s descendants, Hurts and La Roux, are making waves, how do one of the first groups that first established synthpop music in 1979, stand up against their new contemporaries?
1. ‘Never Let Me Go’
Electro perfection. Building and building, this synth-infused track is literally how 2011 meeting 1981 should sound. Brought up to date with clean production, a catchy melody and a grimy bassline, it’s easy to see why this was chosen as the second single. It really deserves more success.
2. ‘Night People’
There’s something very mesmerizing and hypnotic about this track. The first single, released in last November, does well to establish the group as being back with a vengeance. Don’t be fooled into thinking this track is simple due to it’s repetitiveness, there is a lot going on here to wrap your mind around.
Frankmusik would be proud to have recorded this track- it resembles the sound he employed on his debut album Complete Me, in the best possible way. Mellow, but bass heavy, ‘Sky’ has an awesome quirky-ness going on. Listen right through to the end- the track continues to offer more as it progresses.
4. ‘Into the Night’
Dream-like ‘Into the Night’ features a fantastic floating melody behind the chorus. It’s so good that it doesn’t really matter what the rest of the track is like. Seriously though, an all-round intriguing mid-tempo track that uses some lovely and unusual techniques, particularly the fade-out at the end.
Immediately establishing itself as the most club-friendly track, ‘Egomaniac’ is possibly the most 80s track here so far. Sounding the most like it would fit onto Dare out of all the tracks here, old fans will probably adore this. ‘Dancing like a diamond in the sun’ does jam its way into your head by the end.
6. ‘Single Minded’
Following ‘Egomaniac’ with a very similar beat, at first this seems a little dangerous, but by the chorus and second verse, this track stands far away from it’s predecessor, showing off more innovative ways of delivering the track to our ears.
7. ‘Electric Shock’
Forget ‘Egomaniac’, this is the club track. Something about it screams Kylie Minogue’s ultra cool track ‘Boombox’. Danceable, up-tempo, innovative, cool- this is what the group need if they want to be played in the clubs.
8. ‘Get Together’
This is a great up-tempo number, which has a harder beat than we have heard so far. This will be a live highlight if the band tour to promote the album, I can imagine the crowd loving it.
Standing out as a dark, twisted track, this is the most individual song on the album. Much angrier and with a political agenda, this yields back to the original Human League line-up that didn’t feature the girls.
10. ‘Breaking the Chains’
Throwing us back to the safety of the synth-pop, and in this case guitar tinged, world, is ‘Breaking the Chains’ which is light-hearted and a breath of fresh air after the heaviness of ‘Privilege’.
11. ‘When the Stars Start to Shine’
Joining ‘Electric Shock’ in the club playlist, is ‘When the Stars Start to Shine’. Featuring a hard and addictive beat that could be featured on a Pendulum track, this is definitely a highlight from the album. Hard beats, a gentle melody and an 80s vocal arrangement that could be ‘The Land of Make-Believe’ by Bucks Fizz, this track somehow pulls all the best elements from each and hits you, hurling you to the dance-floor.
Credo is the sound of a band making music because they love making it. After thirty years, the Human League still possess the same creative energy and have produced an album that should appeal to both 80s fans and the Hurts generation, as well as lovers of well crafted dance-pop music. Not bad at all.
Credo is available now on Wall of Sound.
James Christopher Sheppard is a London based freelance writer. He is Eyewear's current guest music critic. For more information, please visit his website Intellectual Intercourse.