Thursday, February 4, 2010

electro heavenly summit

I had heard about the mighty Heaven 17 and their participation in an electro showcase for BBC 6. Then came word that La Roux would be joining them at Maida Vale studios for the sessions. Everytime these rare performances come together, I wish to high heaven that I lived in London. Let's face it. It's the mecca of modern music.

Finally, all at once, the clips showed up on YouTube. And they are glorious. Not sure in what order they should appear, but it's obvious "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" leads the proceedings.

Glenn Gregory still sound deep, sexy, soulful and ominous even without one lick of processing. The song still sounds metallic, electronic and funky as all get out. This was the second track I ever heard from Heaven 17. The first was "Penthouse And Pavement". Thank you WLIR and MTV.

"Let Me Go", despite not being their biggest hit in their homeland, is their calling card in the US thanks to saturation airplay of the cinematic, black and white video clip on all music channels in the big 80s.

Their big UK hit, which gets remixed and reworked every few years much in the same vein as other landmark, cornerstone electro classics like "Fade To Grey", featured in the lineup.

Here, new school synth leaders, La Roux, join Martyn Ware and Glen Gregory for a romp through "Temptaion". Not sure Elly Jackson can handle the vocal duties originally supplied by Carol Kenyon. Where Elly's voice is reedy, Carol belted out her diva best which sat in stark contrast to H17's production. That's what made "Temptation" so magnificent and goosebumpy.

Glen Gregory returns the favor by trading lines with Elly on La Roux's debut single, "In For The Kill".

The most amazing moment was "Sign Your Name". Originally a #2 UK hit for Terence Trent D'Arby in 1988 and produced by H17's Martyn Ware, it was given the La Roux production treatment with Elly and Glenn trading verses. This needs to be produced in the studio ASAP and issued as a single! Are you listening to me La Roux and co.?

And finally, a storming run through La Roux's finest moment to date, "Bulletproof".


  1. Much love for Heaven 17. Was there ever a back-to-roots album better than "Bigger Than America?" ABC and the Human League all hit them out of the park during that fin-de-siecle as well. Was it in the Sheffield water?

  2. I'm an "obvious" heaven 17 fan (in that I only really know their big hits) and this was great. Ah Temptation is still magnificent and sounded great even here...

  3. Awesome post. I never knew how much of an influence they were to me growing up in suburban Maryland. It definitely wasn't cool to listen to 'new wave' back then. I obviously wasn't one of the cool kids. LOL.

  4. Heaven 17 ARE electronica! They never feared bucking the trends, adding soul guitar and brass when everyone else was still catching up with their Fairlight programming, or stripping down and returning to the studio to re-explore their electronic roots when everyone else was trying to be Oasis or Blur. Give us more Martyn and Glenn!!