Album review

Soft Cell : Live
Cooking Vinyl

Soft Cell : Live The story of Soft Cell is a remarkable one: Consisting of Marc Almond and Dave Ball, they originally gained recognition in 1981 with a host of hits such as the memorable Tainted Love and the addictive Bedsitter. Their sound influenced artists such as the Pet Shop Boys and more recently had a bearing on bands such as Pulp and The Divine Comedy. They disbanded after just three years to chase solo careers but recently reformed after 18 years to record studio album Cruelty Without Beauty.

Live is a double CD amalgamating four shows from Soft Cell's 2003 tour. CD two will undoubtedly be best received as it contains most of their '80s classics, including an avid rendition of Say Hello, Wave Goodbye and the hyper Together Alone. CD one concentrates heavily on their more recent work, with only a handful of the more familiar songs in the mix.
    Any live CD must capture the band's energy on stage and the atmosphere of the venue. Unfortunately, Soft Cell's genre of electro pop is hard to capture live - the music's manufactured element means that the live reproduction is often a little too similar to the original. Soft Cell rarely venture from the familiar arrangements, and as such it's all too easy to forget that this is a live album.

However big or small a fan you are of Soft Cell, this album is a meteoric gesture to any music lover who has gone through the heartache of seeing their favourite band split up. It sends a warming message that no matter how long a band split for, there's always a chance that they'll return. Fans of The Stone Roses, The Verve, the Smashing Pumpkins and er, Hear'Say all stay tuned. Don't give up hope yet . . . it's never too late.

:: Paul Newbold

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