mon 26/10/2020

CD: VCMG – Ssss | reviews, news & interviews

CD: VCMG – Ssss

CD: VCMG – Ssss

Just can't get enough of Vince Clarke and Martin Gore? Here's more

Seminal eighties electro-poppers get creative together again

Electropop royalty does not get more illustrious than this. VCMG stands for Vince Clarke (&) Martin Gore, who started out together in Depeche Mode, only for main songwriter Clarke to depart in 1981.

Electropop royalty does not get more illustrious than this. VCMG stands for Vince Clarke (&) Martin Gore, who started out together in Depeche Mode, only for main songwriter Clarke to depart in 1981. Gore stayed in the band and took kinky leather into the pages of Smash Hits, while Clarke became a veritable Tintin-haired hit factory, discovering Alison Moyet, recontextualising Feargal Sharkey and eventually forming an enduring partnership with Andy Bell in Erasure. The latter duo released a new album last year which promised much but ploughed the same old high-energy furrow. Ssss, by contrast, is a far more intriguing affair.

Clarke and Gore never met in the studio for this project. Instead they whizzed sonic ideas back-and-forth through cyberspace to create the 10 instrumental tracks. This is an album with both feet firmly on the dancefloor, brimming over with deftly sampled rhythms and bleeps. From the hammering Kraftwerk-influenced opener "Lowly" through to the closing "Flux" this reads like a gloriously fresh homage to electronic music.

The beats just keep coming, as unstoppably relentless as a Boris Johnson speech. There is something for everyone here. From a heady whiff of acid house on "Zaat" and “Aftermaths” to the sparse post-Human League sci-fi sensibility of "Spock". The only missing jigsaw piece is a vocalist. As already established, Vince Clarke has pre-eminent form when it comes to finding the right voice to add heart and soul. Yet even without a latterday Alison Moyet – and we all agree that Adele is basically the latterday Alison Moyet, don't we? – this is a tremendous album. Let's just hope we don't have to wait another three decades for the next reunion. Maybe VCMG actually stands for Very Classy Musical Gathering.

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Watch Vince Clarke and Martin Gore in Depeche Mode in 1981

The beats keep coming, as unstoppably relentless as a Boris Johnson speech

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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