The Luxury Gap by Heaven 17

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The Luxury Gap by Heaven 17
The Luxury Gap by Heaven 17

Album Released: 1983

The Luxury Gap ::: Artwork

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1.Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry5:53
2.Who'll Stop The Rain3:04
3.Let Me Go4:21
4.Key To The World3:41
5.Temptation3:33
6.Come Live With Me4:03
7.Lady Ice And Mr. Hex3:45
8.We Live So Fast3:48
9.The Best Kept Secret5:07

Reviews

After falling for Heaven 17's debut, I was eager to get into their second album. However, after listening to it the first time, my initial reaction was that it was a significant letdown. But then I listened to it again and wondered how on earth I could've missed that this album has so many fantastic tunes.

Whilst I don't think it's remotely as good as the debut, there's plenty of good reasons to listen to The Luxury Gap over and over again. Maybe the source of initial disappointment is due to the opening “Crushed By the Wheels of Industry”, which doesn't contain nearly the same level of sparkly charisma as the song that opened their previous album. It's OK, but a bit stiff (albeit purposely so, as it mimics cold mechanical factory sounds). Other than that, the tune doesn't engage me a whole lot, and I also find it far too long.

After that though, there's stuff I can celebrate more. Namely “Who'll Stop the Rain”, a short punchy number with a great melody and infectious danceable groove. Equally as good is “Let Me Go”, which has a delightfully rubbery synth-bass groove and some foreboding background synths.

Another highlight is “Lady Ice and Mr. Hex”, which features some unkempt lounge-lizard piano right out of Aladdin Sane, along with a good melody - my only complaint about that are the meandering parts in the middle, that don't strike me as terribly interesting. The final song “Best Kept Secret” is another terrific gem - entrancingly atmospheric and evocative - there's no dance-beat, but it rather seems like a synthesized version of something Frank Sinatra would've sounded great singing in the 60's.

All in all, I do like this album enough to give it a glowing recommendation - it just glows less than the debut.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)


Heaven 17's second album, which remains their most successful, moves away from the minimal synth sound of their debut, and incorporates elements of jazz and soul into the mix, something I have struggled to warm to over time. But I now see the record as a highly enjoyable and successful effort. And the electronics of course still dominate!

Continuing with their cuttingly topical lyrics, it all starts with the dynamic "Crushed By the Wheels of Industry", which remains not only one of my favourite Heaven 17 tracks, but also a favourite from the 80's synth/pop era as a whole.

That eases into the somewhat more sedate, but still catchy and sometimes imaginatively arranged fare, highlights including "Let Me Go" and the ominous / slightly sinister hit single "Temptation" (complete with soulful female singer in the chorus).

The band then move back into fast-paced territory towards the end of the album with another gem, "We Live So Fast", before it all finishes with the slow, dreamy but pleasant "The Best Kept Secret". Through it all, Glenn Gregory's vocals are again a highlight.

The Luxury Gap is both similar to and different from Penthouse and Pavement, and although it doesn't quite match that album, there's still a lot to like here, and remains one of the best of this much-maligned, or much-loved (depending on who you are) era in popular music.

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by Reviewer: The Doctor