Photo Credit Andrew Whitton 2021
Soft Cell reveal brand new track ‘Heart Like Chernobyl’ –
“This is a vintage piece of Soft Cell, layering its pop heart in darkness” CLASH
Taken from their first new album in 20 years ‘*Happiness Not Included’ to be released 25th February 2022 (via BMG)
The synth pop pioneers play a run of big headline UK dates in November 2021
A perfect example of how Soft Cell combine the subversive with a pop melody, Dave Ball gives a deeper insight into ‘Heart Like Chernobyl’s damning proposition: “When I wrote the music to ‘Heart Like Chernobyl’ it was at the height of lockdown and I had been alone for about 6 weeks. I was feeling a bit Joy Division and recalled their track Isolation. I played, programmed and recorded the track digitally in my home studio – Kitchen Sink Drama. The track title was Marc’s idea, as was the subject matter.” Listen to ‘Heart Like Chernobyl’.
As announced to a rapturous response last month, ‘Happiness Not Included’ now has a street date and will be released on the 25th February 2022 via BMG. It represents their first new album since they issued ‘Cruelty Without Beauty’ back in 2002. ‘*Happiness Not Included’ will be available on limited edition yellow vinyl and cassette, cd and digital, pre-order here.
Soft Cell will build towards the album’s release by sharing a new single in the autumn and playing some UK shows in November 2021. The big headline live dates will provide the first chance to hear Soft Cell’s new songs alongside their classic pop hits, all while marking the 40th anniversary of the band’s iconic 1981 debut ‘Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret’. Including two shows at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on the 15th and 16th November, tickets are on sale now from myticket.co.uk/artists/soft-cell.
The live dates are:
Wednesday 10th November 2021 – GLASGOW O2 ACADEMY
Friday 12th November 2021 – MANCHESTER O2 APOLLO
Saturday 13th November 2021 – LEEDS O2 ACADEMY
Monday 15th November 2021 – LONDON HAMMERSMITH APOLLO
Tuesday 16th November 2021 – LONDON HAMMERSMITH APOLLO
More about the new album ‘*Happiness Not Included’
One play of ‘*Happiness Not Included’ reveals all of the traits that fans first adored Soft Cell for: that distinctive and striking balance between light and shade, hope and despair, the personal and the universal. Highlights include the yearning, airy pop of ‘Purple Zone’ which contrasts its uplifting sonics with Almond’s darkly doomed lyrics, while ‘Light Sleepers’ drifts with a daydream elegance that neatly matches its subject matter. Elsewhere, ‘Bruises On My Illusions’ is bigger and more abrasive, its baroque-tinged synth energy elevated by theatrical vocal harmonies, while the pure grandeur of ‘New Eden’ closes with the album on a suitably cinematic note.
‘New Eden’ best encapsulates the album’s themes as Almond sings, “All those plans we made in the ‘60s… Seem naïve now we’ve grown older / Leaving we’re leaving looking for the New Eden.” Changing perceptions of the passing of time are a recurring theme throughout. At various points, Almond explores the disappointment of a future that never materialised, reflects on his experiences at Andy Warhol’s The Factory, expresses disillusionment at the modern media landscape, and comes to accept that life isn’t eternal.
“In this album I wanted to look at us as a society: a place where we have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality and decency, food before the rights of animals, fanaticism before fairness and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others. But in the album there is also a belief that there is a utopia if we can peel back the layers and understand what really matters”. – Marc Almond
“Recorded remotely during a world pandemic. Science fiction stories for the 21st century.” – Dave Ball
In short: it’s remarkable that Soft Cell are now four decades deep into their career, and sound more relevant, contemporary and accomplished than ever before. Clearly Almond and Ball’s adventures, both together and apart, have only made them stronger.
The impetus for making a new album started with the phenomenal “final” show at The O2 in London in 2018. Emerging to a rapturous reception at the sold-out 20,000 capacity arena, Soft Cell’s extensive set covered all of the hits and fan favourites: ‘Tainted Love’, ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’, ‘Torch’, ‘Memorabilia’ and many more. What they had planned to be the end instead became a brand new start.
As the duo started to work on new material, they enlisted the Grammy-winning Phillip Larsen as co-producer. Now in a reversal of all expected plans, Soft Cell have waved goodbye only to say hello once more.