“Reproduction” by The Human League - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1979Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

The League would like to positively affect the future by close attention to the present, allying technology with humanity and humour. They have been described as 'Later Twentieth Century Boys' and 'Intelligent, Innovatory and Immodest'.” So read the press release for “Being Boiled”, their debut single released in June, 1978. “Electronically yours… The Human League” read the picture cover. The clear and bold statement of intent was matched by the classic single itself and John Peel was all over it, the band accepting an invite to record a session which was broadcast just a couple of months later. An all-instrumental EP, “The Dignity Of Labour”, followed in April, 1979, which led to the deal with Virgin Records. For their debut LP in October, 1979, the resolutely electronic trio putting Sheffield on the map were: Philip Oakey (24, vocals), Martyn Ware (23, keyboards) and Ian Craig Marsh (22, keyboards).

None of the singles were included, and anyone expecting some of the “Being Boiled” power would have surely been disappointed, I know I was, albeit retrospectively. “Almost Medieval” was a good opener, with a strong drum and bass that proves you really don't need traditional instruments to be lively and engaging. By contrast, the vaguely sinister “Circus Of Death” immediately introduces another side to the group, with moodiness in the synth sweeps and vocals which veer from the deadpan to the expressive. The album's only single, “Empire State Human”, closes side one strangely, fun cold-pop, who knew such a thing existed? The most memorable track on side two is the bizarre medley of “Morale… You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”, the moody electronica piece giving way to a cover of The Righteous Brothers megahit of 1964. Allying technology with humanity and humour, see? Not sure I dig this manifesto.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [04:43] 6.7.png The Human League - Almost Medieval (Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh, Phil Oakey) New Wave
A2 [03:55] 5.4.png The Human League - Circus Of Death (Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh, Phil Oakey) Electronica
A3 [03:33] 5.6.png The Human League - The Path Of Least Resistance (Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh, Phil Oakey) Electronica
A4 [03:25] 4.4.png The Human League - Blind Youth (Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh, Phil Oakey) New Wave
A5 [04:04] 5.2.png The Human League - The World Before Last (Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh, Phil Oakey) Electronica
A6 [03:17] 5.8.png The Human League - Empire State Human (Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh, Phil Oakey) New Wave
B1 [09:39] 5.5.png The Human League - Morale… You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling (Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh, Phil Oakey - Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Phil Spector) Pop Ballad
B2 [06:44] 4.1.png The Human League - Austerity / Girl One (Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh, Phil Oakey) Pop
B3 [04:13] 5.3.png The Human League - Zero As A Limit (Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh, Phil Oakey) New Wave

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