NME December 1998

Daniel Booth


IT'S time to discard our pompus prejudices. Band reunions are so commonplace now that we should stop affecting false positions of outrage. The principle of reformations is a non-issue because the industry's marketing onslaught will never crumble under the imagined weight of journalistic objections; all that is left to debate is which bands deserve to be exhumed. And the three bands here merit more than a Lennon-enriched Betales...

...THE HUMAN LEAGUE play the most insanely futuristic show you'll ever see (nostalgic, yes - retro, no). To the whiplash android-march of "The Sound Of The Crowd" Phil Oakey, Susan Sulley and Joanne Catherall solemnly walk onstage bedecked in Arctic-white, Druid-chic-quasi-religious hooded cloaks - their faces benumbed into monastic compliane. It is, without question, the most stunning entrance this solar system has ever witnessed - hilarious, deadpan and the chillingly surreal benchmark to which the likes of Daft Punk and Air should aspire.

They may have a combined age of 587, but their music has lost none of its mechanized panache ("The Lebanon", "Tell Me When", "Love Action"), their image none of its sluttish magnetism; half way through, Susan (her face older, just a little rough) squeezes into a pair of golden shorts so inhumanly tight as to make Geri's Union Jack dress lokk like Richard Branson's round-the-world balloon. Miaow...

...So, blah-dee-blah, of course tonight is an insalubrious nostalgia binge; of course we're supposed to be shocked that so many potential Gomez fans (yeah, right) are timewarping themselves backwards. But this is no time to be coy. You simply can't call yourself a pop fan without having ever considered for a large proportion of your life that either "Poison Arrow", "Don't You Want Me" or "Church Of The Poisened Mind" is the best single of all time.