Synth pop from eighties masters...
This 12 track dvd is the companion to the 1981 classic pop-synth album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret by Soft Cell - Mark Almond and Dave Ball.
It starts as it means to go on with a badly lip synched vocals and it’s typical of videos of the genre featuring basic sets and filming and the odd superimposed graphic for ‘special effect’. For example, moving crotchets (no dear, I said crotchets!).
The opening video for Entertain Me looks as though it was shot in a children’s TV studio but with an array of circus artists - fire eaters, jugglers and the like prancing around. Mark, as always, camps it up and Dave does his level best to look fetching.
Bed Sitter continues in the same vein - this time, Dave prowling the streets of London and the Underground, while Mark is confined to a small grubby bed sit.
Frustration goes even weirder with graveyards, - garden gnomes and Dave mowing the lawn while Mark is on his knees (is there some homoerotic message here?).
And do it goes on, classic track after classic track - Torch, Seedy films, Secret Life, Tainted Love (of course), Sex Dwarf, Say Hello, Wave Goodbye etc. etc.). In between there are quirky interludes where Mark pontificates and Dave smirks.
All in all, the videos are reminders of a) how basic videos were in the early 80’s and b) what a great band Soft Cell were. They still sound relevant and vibrant today and influenced many of the synth pop bands that followed in their wake. And poor miming or not, Mark Almond was one of the best vocalists of his generation.
So, 5 stars for the songs, 3 stars for the videos. I guess that should make it a 4 star review overall. But I’m going to have to mark it down to 3 on the basis that its short (60 minutes), its bereft of extras and as a result is probably for Soft Cell fans only.
Review by Pete Whalley