It's 1980. Synth-pop act, Orchestral Manoevers In The Dark have released their second album, Organisation, and it's a clear tribute to the late Ian Curtis. "Your problem," declared a vexed Virgin exec, "is that you don't know whether you want to be Joy Division or Abba."
Perversely, this apparently bi-polar dilemma was actually the main reason OMD became fleetingly interesting. A lesson there, perhaps, for Hearts Of Black Science, whom I'd venture seem equally uncertain of whether they wish to be Depeche Mode or A'ha.
Hearts Of Black Science offer heavily synthesized europop that borders on
darkwave. If the Mode are the clearest reference point, you could also throw
Wants Revenge, Xymox, The Concretes, or Indochine. Against the odds,
such po-faced electro pop actually works. There's a thriving club scene around
such dark rhythms in the USA, and New York in particular. Imagine young,
androgynous Goths and fetishists mixing equally with "straights", and gyrating
happily in nights of harmless fun. Hearts Of Black Science fit the scene
The start of the album is somewhat leaden footed. It takes a while to really
get going but it's worth it. The meat in the sandwich comes from the series Walking
With the Sun through Empty City Lights and onto Driverlights.
This is an immaculate procession of sequencer driven pop sheen. The only reservation
I harbour is that Hearts Of Black Science sound a little too nice. Too clean.
The imagery is poetic where it cries out to be dangerous, kinky, or subversive.
Silver is the sensual closing track. One can easily imagine Dave Gahan fronting this one. Hearts Of Black Science now face a treacherous, pivotal decision. Namely whether or not to refine their Depeche Mode pretensions or distance themselves from this direction. Tricky, very tricky.
A really stylish record in parts. Where next?