The Human League – Credo (2011)

Posted: March 11, 2011 in Music

Taking a break from the heavy metal/hard rock circuit isn’t something this author does very often, but when I heard of plans of a new Human League release, my ears immediately pricked up and it was up to the internet to provide me with the sonic experience I figured I could not live without.

Scheduled for a late March release, ‘Credo’ is the ninth studio release from these British electromantics. Nine albums. Wow. Outside of the meager handful of radio hits the band had off of the releases ‘Dare’ and ‘Fascination’, they haven’t been the the slightest blip on anyone’s radar (although the single “Human” off of ‘Crash’ made some chart noise on the other side of the ocean.)

I shouldn’t say “anyone”, as I have always considered this band one of my guilty pleasures. I have all of their albums on some form of media – either cassette, album, or CD – except the 2001 release (which was their latest.) As mentioned in previous posts, I have a wide range of musical tastes, and while most of them lead to hard rock & heavy metal, there are a few other bands out there that deserve my time – and The Human League define that attitude.

I’ve always thought the band was mis-categorized over the years. Most so-called music experts define their sound as synthpop, which is an insult. You’ll find their hit singles on K-Tel releases bunched along with bands such as Naked Eyes, Kajagoogoo, Duran Duran and A Flock of Seagulls. Granted “Don’t You Want Me” and “Fascination” brought the band recognition and riches, but thise songs really don’t represent the band well. In fact, for the longest time the band didn’t perform those songs live, due to the distraction they caused to an incredibly under appreciated catalogue.

If I had to redefine the band, I would consider them more of an industrial band than a synthpop band. They remind me more of Joy Division or the darker side of Depeche Mode than they do Duran Duran. The sound is just too dark and underground to be considered mainstream pop. But enough about that gripe – let’s move on.

‘Credo’ is a piece of digital mastery. Band mates since 1980, Philip Oakey, Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley wield their haunting vocal stylings over 11 tracks of the usual digital bleeps and bloops. Their voices haven’t missed a beat in 30 years. They sound as fresh today as they did in their heyday. The first single, “Night People” was released to the European market last November and quickly cemented itself on music charts. “Never Let Me Go” is the second single, and was just released (again in Europe) this last week. In typical Human League fashion, these are two of the weakest tracks on the album. The real standouts are “Egomaniac,” “Electric Shock,” and “Breaking The Chains” – the last of which is the best song the band has ever put together.

This is a great album. There is a certain charm to The Human League that, while intangible, is unavoidable. When you catch youself tapping your foot while watching the video below, you’ll realize you need to hear this album. It’s not perfect, but considering the band’s history and hiatus – it’s pretty damn close.

9/10

Tracklist:
01 – Never Let Me Go
02 – Night People
03 – Sky
04 – Into The Night
05 – Egomaniac
06 – Single Minded
07 – Electric Shock
08 – Get Together
09 – Privilege
10 – Breaking The Chains
11 – When The Stars Start To Shine

MySpace: Link | Wiki: Link | Buy: Amazon

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