Sunday, April 24, 2011


While they continue to be haunted by their mega-hit "Don't You Want Me" (here it's titled "All I Ever Wanted"),  this 2001 release by The Human League stands as their strongest collection of songs since DARE (1981).  SECRETS' use of analogue equipment (credits thank both Analogue Solutions and Analogue Systems) give it a warm, fat sound unlike the production sheen of some of their previous albums.  From my perspective,  the seven instrumentals that crop up within its sixteen tracks are the threads that hold SECRETS together as they morph into vocal tracks.  Phil Oakey's baritone is a bit more expressive here,  especially on tracks such as "Nervous" and "Love Me Madly?",  where he seems more singer than stentorian orator.  The lyrics (which Phil Oakey has suggested are secondary to the "noise") are not quite as silly or forced as usual,  but seem to fit well into their electronic settings and even seem  meaningful at times.  Getting back to those numerous short instrumentals that some reviewers suffered through,  I must stress that they act as welcome bridges to sometimes less than wonderful vocal performances,  much like those found on Whitehouse's RACKET (2007),  where "Fairground Muscle Twitcher",  "The Avalanche",  and "Bia Mintatu" relieved the often tedious,  cliched rants of  Philip Best.  Sometimes a bit of wordless noise is indeed golden.

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