Scarlet Soho - Album Review

Divisions Of Decency (Human recordings)


Are the 80s undergoing (yet another) revival? They're not? Oh, well don’t tell Scarlet Soho. The Winchester duo’s album listens like an homage to all the things that made the decade great. Soaring synth lines and looped beats are punctuated by occasional bursts of guitar in the soundscape of a seedy Metropolis’ backstreet. Like a musical interpretation of urban decay, the monotony of city life is laid bare and set to a metronomic beat. Cryptic lyrics complement the mechanical, post-modern sound. They conjure images of desolate tenements and the lives being lived in them. Dark and brooding, ‘Divisions of Decency’ carries all the danger and urgency of The Sisters of Mercy’s debut or Depeche Mode’s ‘Black Celebration’. But this is no epic, industrial suicide note; an undercurrent of optimism is frequently touched on in the record’s refrains. Although the obvious comparisons are with electro bands like The Human League and Soft Cell, the delivery contains many elements of indie-rock, particularly in Jim Knight’s superb vocal. Were it set to a guitar it could easily be Mansun’s Paul Draper. Hugely danceable and instantly sing-along, it’s an album packed with dirty bass-lines and anthemic choruses. It's catchier than head-lice in an infant school. Above all it’s sordid, alluring and sleazy. Who above the age of twelve doesn’t want that from their music?

Wondering what they sound like live? Click here to read a live review.