This coming Monday it’s finally here! The Human League’s ninth studio album, and the first since 2001’s ‘Secrets’, is released. It’s been a long time coming for League fans, and it’s been worth the wait.
In 1981 The Human League released ‘Dare’, the single greatest SynthPop album ever recorded, that was three decades ago. Three Decades! And in their generation spanning career, Phil, Susan & Joanne have never strayed from the path, never pandered to fashion (were they making Brit Pop album in the mid 90’s? No!), they are an ElectroPop act. They evolve as electronic music evolves, they can experiment with electronic music and songwriting, they can collaborate with contemporary artists, but they remain ambassadors for ElectroPop. While Depeche Mode were trying to be a Blues Rock band and Gary Numan was saying a prayer before every bedtime that he would wake up being Trent Reznor. The Human League stand proud as The Human League, the worlds greatest SynthPop band.
So, to ‘Credo’. The ElectroPop landscape is vastly different from the last time The League released an album, the last five years have been an amazing time to be an ElectroPop fan. From the explosion of Indie-Electro, the return of intelligent Electronic Pop to our charts to the awesomeness that is Dreamwave and the Minimal Synth scene growing and growing, there is so many talented ElectroPop artists pushing the boundaries of the genre these days how does ‘Credo’ compare?
Very well actually. ‘Credo, is probably the most ‘The Human League’ sounding album The Human League have made since the mid-80’s. Phil Oakey is as his droll finest. As with the best League tracks there are strong narratives that run throughout many of the tracks and, from a purely songwriting style point of view, this album is really close to ‘Dare’. But it’s not just in Oakey’s vocals that ‘Credo’ harkens back to THL of old, the synth sounds used over the whole eleven tracks conjure imaginations of early 80’s TOTP. The middle section of the album, tracks like ‘Into The Night’, ‘Egomaniac’, ‘Single Minded’ and ‘Electric Shock particularly have classic analog lead lines very reminiscant of the singles of The League’s pop explosion
♫ The Human League – Never Let Me Go
So, if the songwriting sounds like classic League and the sounds on the album are 1981 approved then does ‘Credo’ sound dated? Well, not really, and that’s down to the production, and the drums. Imagine The Human League of old with contemporary dance drums and modern, slick, production techniques and that’s pretty much ‘Credo’. To be honest I couldn’t ask for anything else from THL
♫ The Human League – Night People (Single Edit)
Highlights of the album, for me, include the new single ‘Never Let Me Go’, the closest The Human League are going to get to DiscoPop, which I think should have been the lead single over ‘Night People’. If ‘Egomaniac’ isn’t the next single I will eat my Pork Pie hat, it’s classic League, call and response vocals between Phil and the girls, a dry wit and a silky smooth sing-along chorus. ‘Electric Shock’ is another definite winner, pure Synthetic Pop that kicks into Acid craziness in the chorus.
If loved The Human League, but hated it when they tried to be R&B, or Trance, ‘Credo’ is 100% for you!
‘Credo’ is released 21st March on Wall Of Sound.