With 25 million sales, six UK top 10 singles and a BRIT Award to their name, Soft Cell are one of British music’s most visionary bands. They’ve cast a huge influence over music culture ever since, setting the synth-pop standard for Erasure and the Pet Shop Boys to follow, inspiring the industrial scene before it exploded in the ‘90s, being sampled on Rihanna’s smash ‘S.O.S.’ and laying the groundwork for the current alt-pop scene right up to Years & Years.
Now Soft Cell – legendary frontman Marc Almond and producer/instrumentalist Dave Ball – are set to return with their fifth studio album ‘*Happiness Not Included’, which will be released in spring 2022 via a new deal with BMG. It represents their first new album since they issued ‘Cruelty Without Beauty’ back in 2002. They will build towards the album’s release by sharing a new single in the autumn and playing some UK shows in November 2021.
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 The Factory, expresses disillusionment at the modern media landscape, and comes to accept that life isn’t eternal.
Due to overwhelming public demand, Soft Cell will be previewing tracks from ‘*Happiness Not Included’ alongside their greatest hits, as well as performing their seminal 1981 debut album ‘Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret’ in full for the first time in a series of live shows this autumn. Tickets go on general sale here from 10am on Friday, August 6th. The dates are:
Wednesday 10 November 2021 GLASGOW O2 ACADEMY
Friday 12 November 2021 MANCHESTER O2 APOLLO
Saturday 13 November 2021 LEEDS O2 ACADEMY
Monday 15 November 2021 LONDON HAMMERSMITH APOLLO
Tuesday 16 November 2021 LONDON HAMMERSMITH APOLLO