Various Artists The Sound of the Crowd Review

Compilation. Released 2002.  

BBC Review

...any compilation that includes Trevor Horn's finest moment - 'Dr Mabuse' by...

Chris Jones 2002

As a child, your lowly correspondent used to marvel at the revival of the fifties. This was in the mid-seventies when the sight of brothel creepers, fluorescent socks, drape coats and drainpipe trousers was as outrageous as seeing a man ride down the street on a penny farthing. And now a younger generation's days of yore become the commercial fodder on which their offspring munch. Ridiculous shoulder pads, skinny leather ties and enough hairspray to strip a small planet's ozone layer are the central display in the freak show we call nostalgia. Not only are the sounds of the eighties suddenly (and unexpectedly) becoming hip again, but it's led to the phenomenon they're calling meaningless things like Electroclash and Synthcore. Witness Sugarbabes unholy union with Gary Numan's "Are Friends Electric?" which has catapulted them to the toppermost of the poppermost. To someone who used to dance (sort of) to these numbers the first time around, this electro-revival is mighty strange but cannot fail to warm the older and more cynical cockles of their heart.

Record companies, of course, now trawl through their back catalogues for all the electro pop hits of the eighties to compile, either for us older pillars of the community or for "the kids"" to staple onto their next sound clash bootleg. At least five of these eighties delights have hit the racks in the last month, but Sound Of The Crowd has the edge over all others due to two distinct facts. For one it gives you the hits in their original unexpurgated 12 inch versions. Remember: this was the age when the remix was born, and these mixes are the true precursors to today's endless re-workings, albeit more compelling over their seven-odd minutes. Secondly; the compilers have chosen some real humdingers.

This is not just the usual selection of chart monsters from the more familiar names, but includes slightly more obscure (and much more worthy) numbers like the recently deceased Fad Gadget's "Back To Nature", with its protean synth work and Cabaret Voltaire's claustrophobic "Sensoria". New Order's "Everything's Gone Green" is an infinitely superior choice to the more obvious "Blue Monday" and any compilation that includes Trevor Horn's finest moment - "Dr Mabuse" by Propaganda - is undoubtedly the work of someone who knows what really shook the dancefloors back in 1985. Whether you want to remember the way it really was or are merely curious as to why on earth all this analogue noise needs a revival in the first place, you could do a lot worse than start here.

Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you choose to use this review on your site please link back to this page.