Eschewing prominent synthesizers all the more, for a preferred guitar-led soul/funk sound, this -Heaven 17's fourth album - somehow manages to work fairly well, thanks to its catchy rhythms, and reasonable tunes in at least some of the songs, even if it is ultimately the band's weakest release to date.
It doesn't start well, with the opening "Contenders" offering virtually no melodic interest (the same can be said for the ballad "Look At Me" later on), but "Somebody", "Low Society", and the concluding "Free" are more worthy, if still far from the band's best. Having said that, if there could have been more of the sly sassiness of "Free", the band could've had a bit of a winner here.
One might well wish for the undeniably catchy songs and computer sounds of the band's debut Penthouse and Pavement
, which they never matched again, but this is where Heaven 17 stood by 1986. They still had some certain familiar characteristics, not the least being Glenn Gregory's excellent vocals, but they'd moved on in other ways, whether the public liked it or not, and since the album didn't even make the Top 50 in the UK, the public obviously did not. Rated:
by Reviewer: The Doctor