Soft Cell’s return with ‘*Happiness Not Included’ has proven to be well worth the 20+ year wait, as the album received a deluge of critical acclaim as it raced into the Top 10 – making it their highest charting studio set in almost 30 years. Now Soft Cell keep the album in the spotlight by sharing the official remixes of their Pet Shop Boys collaboration ‘Purple Zone’ as well as their new single ‘Nostalgia Machine’.
The original version of ‘Purple Zone’ captured the attention of synth-pop devotees everywhere as it united two of the genre’s most influential duos. It quickly became Soft Cell’s biggest airplay hit in years, as it was named Record of the Week and then A-listed at Radio 2.
And if two electro legends wasn’t enough, the lead ‘Purple Zone’ remix adds an artist who has extended their spirit to a new generation in the shape of Hercules & Love Affair, aka Andy Butler. Marc Almond and Andy Butler toured the States together in 2019, their connection leading to this remix. Butler directs his remix straight to the dancefloor, infusing Soft Cell and Pet Shop Boys’ melancholy with disco decadence and a classic house snare.
Andy Butler says, “Thank you so much for involving me in this – the lyrics really moved me and to be able to be in conversation musically with both Soft Cell and Pet Shop Boys has really touched me deeply.”
The remix comes as Hercules & Love Affair prepare to release their new album ‘In Amber’ on June 17th. Largely written in collaboration with ANOHNI, the album explores Butler’s early EBM and industrial influences. The album has been previewed by the tracks ‘Grace’ and ‘Poisonous Storytelling’.
The second ‘Purple Zone’ remix is a classic hi-NRG rush of pounding beats and sparkling synths courtesy of Manhattan Clique. The long-term Soft Cell collaborators have also worked as producers, songwriters or remixes for numerous leading artists including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Carly Rae Jepson as well as ‘80s favourites such as Erasure and The Human League.
Soft Cell’s new single ‘Nostalgia Machine’ is one of the most immediate moments on ‘*Happiness Not Included’. A playful, pulsating disco banger, Marc Almond says the song is a “let your hair down moment” which takes in a litany of retro references, with nods to T. Rex, Studio 54, David Essex’s ‘Silver Dream Racer’ and Hawkwind’s ‘Silver Machine’. It also dives back into Soft Cell’s own history with a hidden-in-plain-sight mention of The Pink Flamingo – the setting of their fan favourite ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’.