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Soft Cell - Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret Click here to see this CD at!

We've not had time to write about this album yet. If you are a fan, we'd love to have you help us out by writing a review (see below)!

1. Frustration7. Chips On My Shoulder
2. Tainted Love8. Bedsitter
3. Seedy Films9. Secret Life
4. Youth10. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
5. Sex Dwarf11. Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go (12 mix)
6. Entertain Me12. Tainted Dub (12 mix)


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"This is an absolute classic CD and tape. I recommend everyone to buy it if they like this sort of music. My favourite songs are frustration and secret life. I like them because the words are very catchy and the tunes are catchy too."


"Soft Cell weren't exactly your everyday pop group. The synth duo of Marc Almond and Dave Ball seemed more influenced by The Sparks than the crop of Thatcher pop babes such as Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet. If bands like The Specials and The Clash were talking politics and racial tensions then Soft Cell were escaping the streets and the brutality of everyday for altogether more exciting places like strip clubs and sex cinemas.

Almond was probably seen as the ultimate home invader. Staring down from posters on teenage boys bedroom walls dressed in mascara and leather, Almond challenged the ultra conservative era of "family values" by reminding everyone of their own hypocrisy and championing the underdog.

Indeed "Non Stop Erotic Cabaret" is at times like reading the most intimate and open minded of all personal diaries. . It begs for escape and for release and more importantly of all, it begs for experiences that break down a wall of taboo subjects. It's in your face from the first minute to the last and it doesn't care who is shocked and outraged. In fact, it frowns heavily on the very concept of shock and outrage.

It could be argued that the album celebrates decadence in a way that champions the type of oneupmanship gay scene we see today - of drugs, dancing and mindless lonely sexual encounters. That may be so but Almond seems so sick of suburbia and normality that he is begging for fun. It's an urban alienation that many young gay men experience - especially in rural areas. The hunt for colours and lights and persuit of fun is one temptation that won't be sacrificed. But Almond soon finds that it's not all what it's cracked up to be.

Take "bedsitter" - one of the greatest and most exciting synth pop songs ever written. It's the hangover after the party. . the bout of crabs after the anonymous sex. . the black eye you don't remember getting. . It cries with loneliness and despair. The realisation has hit home that here is somebody with nothing. A Lack of friends "no one knows i'm here for sure". . Needing comfort "I think it's time to cook a meal. . To fill the emptiness I feel" and that the Saturday night experience has become just one boring routine - "Start the nightlife over again and Kid myself I'm having fun". It's a song breathtakingly honest and moving and catchy as hell all at once.

"Isn't it nice
Sugar and spice
Luring disco dollies
To a life of vice"

Became the type of anthem that anybody sick of normality could embrace! "Sex Dwarf" remains probably the greatest heavy metal synth song ever recorded.

Naturally the press had a field day with Almond but in "secret Life" he sings about a celebrity under the threat of blackmail. Respectability is under threat of exposure and the lengths some people will go to in order to keep their secret lives. . secret "Change my sex. . Change my hair. . Be hard to find anywhere"

"Say Hello Wave Goodbye" is glorious. Who said electronic music is unable to cry? It's big, bold, dramatic and deeply affecting. The tale of doomed love "You and I. . it had to be the standing joke of the year" in not without some loverly moments of dry humour from Almond. . "me in a suit. . (Well it just wasn't me)" i'm sure raised a few smiles for anyone listening to this song for the first time!

"Frustration" screams in boredom of the people that surround Almond. . probably his neighbours and family. It is mocking the mundane and the ordinary grey cloud in everybody's life.

"I have home
A mortgage of my own
I have hobby
But it's nothing very special
I do the garden
I watch girls"

I am so ordinary

Whilst in contrast "Seedy Films" is an absolutely gorgeous late night drive through "sleazy city", helped along by some wonderful giggly and breathy female vocals and Almond singing lines such as "Phone me tonight. . And maybe we can talk dirty". If you look at the sleeve to this record, it is pure Soho. Almond is seen surrounded by neon lights sneaking a brown paper bag inside his leather coat. That scene alone probably says more about the British attitude to sexuality than a thousand words ever could. It's as if once you put this album on the turntable that the brown package is revealed in all its stark details.

Dave Ball is not an insignificant player in all of this. Whilst the very force of Almond's presence makes him the big focal point, it would be wrong to dismiss Ball as being a secondary factor in Soft Cell. "Youth" is one of the most torch lit sublime pieces of electronic music I have ever heard. And whilst some of the music may now sound very dated like the trashy disco sound of "Chips on my shoulder" (a bitchy anthem about hyprocisy - "I'll talk about famine While cooking the dinner"), the melodies are so strong that they will live on forever - such as the classic "Tainted Love". I deliberately didn't mention "Tainted Love" until now because people always (wrongly) assume that was all Soft Cell were about. It is a brilliantly executed cover version and no party would be complete without it but it was a chain around the neck of Soft Cell at the time and it isn't really an accurate pointer to the rest of their music.

It's hard to listen to this album without feeling some sadness for the state of pop music now. Marc Almond was a proper pop star - he had the tears, the mascara, the risque clothes, the attitude, the valium, the drugs, the ego, the heartache, the drama, the confrontation, the shock. . and if you turned on a pop station now, you'd no doubt hear something like Michelle or Will Young. . All clean cut, nice and polite, pretty image, nothing to say. .

Back then and Soft Cell sound like a mini revolution, destined to talk about the things your neighbours would rather not acknowledge. Musically, they sound innovative, daring, exciting and most of all they make electronic music sound a bit threatening and edgy at a time when nobody else dared do this.

For all the battles within the music industry that he stood against - and won - and the battles he encountered in his life offstage - and won - you'd have to say that Marc Almond deserves his place right up there as a pop giant. A timeless celebration of daring to be different in an era of clones and where gay sexuality in music was still largely frowned upon.

And "Non Stop Erotic Cabaret" is a pop album that breaks free in every sense of the word."

--Stuart AVFC

Looking for a rare import-only single, a gold record, world tour book, hard to find magazine, an autographed guitar, or simply this CD? You'll find them at eBay!



Artist: Soft Cell

Released: February 27, 1981

Availability: CD, Vinyl


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