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scarletsoho programmedtoperfection
Artist: Scarlet Soho
Title: Programmed To Perfection (Best Of)
Genre: Electro Pop
Release Date: 16th November 2020
Label: Scentair Recordings


Album Review

Twenty years after meeting at a festival and deciding to make music together, here we are at the business end of the relationship, not quite arguing over who gets the cat but certainly looking through all those boxes in the attic. It used to be that bands released Live or Best Of albums to fulfil contractual agreements with their labels, or at least as a stop-gap when you were ten albums in. That SCALRLET SOHO are on their second Best Of, despite actually only ever releasing three studio albums, is somewhat taking the piss, even if they do throw in a load of unnecessary demos and remixes to boost the settlement agreement. But that aside, there are some real hidden gems here that should have given the band significantly more success than they enjoyed.

Always somewhat out of step with whatever trends and fads were circulating at any given time, SCARLET SOHO ploughed ahead with a seamless sequence of perfect electronic Pop, rooted in the early eighties but absolutely bristling with a carefree youthfulness and fluidity. Take the urgent cascading synths punctuating the excellent ‘Modern radio’ or the wonky glam-stomp of ‘Programmed To Perfection’ - there’s no naivety of sound here. They really pack in the styles and influences, from the mature pop of ‘Disconnected’, floor-filling disco rush on ‘I Dare’ or early DEPECHE MODE meets GIORGIO MORODER of ‘Analogue Dialogue (Kill The Beat). There are a few misfires - the somewhat bland ‘Cyclone’ for example, which despite its title, never really musters much energy. But things do get nicely direct on ‘Speak Your Mind’, joyously jittery on ‘Lights Out London’ and (one hopes) tongue in cheek and pure-eighties drama-lama on ‘Gigolo’. You get to wave your arms around festival-style on ‘Solo KO’, and this would have been a good place to stop. The final two tracks manage to be lightweight and overwrought at the same time, as if they’re suddenly taking it all far too seriously.

CD2 contains a whole host of stuff that will no doubt sit unloved and unwanted next to those compilation albums bought inexplicably from market stalls in the 90s. There are one or two interesting enough remixes, if that’s your thing, but some real filler too - ‘Pseudo Sushi’ is as dreadful as its title suggests. But no matter. When fully in their stride, SCARLET SOHO made some fabulous Dance-Pop, with just enough of a dark undercurrent to make them interesting to the Alternative scene. They certainly deserved much more recognition. And who knows, in a few more years we could be on a ‘Best Of Part 3’, where all the album tracks that didn’t make the first two finally resurface and say a big bright hello. Until then, enjoy!


Tracklist

CD1
01. Modern Radio
02. Skin Trade
03. Programmed To Perfection
04. Disconnected
05. I Dare
06. Analogue Dialogue (Kill The Beat)
07. Cyclone
08. Speak Your Mind
09. Is Growing Up The Best We Can Do?
10. Lights Out London
11. In Cold Blood
12. When The Lights Go Out
13. What You Need
14. Gigolo
15. Solo KO
16. Into The Night ft. Isgaard & Loic Rathscheck
17. Children Of The Sun ft. Loic Rathscheck

CD2
01. No Encore (Digimix)
02. Pseudo Sushi
03. Useless Information
04. Daylight (Demo)
05. Wire Me Up (Demo)
06. Retail Therapy
07. Professionals
08. Is Growing Up The Best We Can Do? (DJ Barletta Remix)
09. When The Lights Go Out (Tokytron Remix)
10. Gigolo (!disdain Remix)
11. Solo KO (Teenage Mutants Remix)
12. Two Steps From Heartache (James Yuill Remix)
13. Solo KO (Candide Remix)
14. In Cold Blood (!disdain Remix)


Line-up

Jim Knights
Scarlet


Website

https://scarletsoho1.bandcamp.com / https://www.facebook.com/scarletsoho


Cover Picture

scarletsoho programmedtoperfection


Rating

Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10


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