The Human League are an English synth-pop band currently made up of Philip Oakey, Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley. The group have been through various line-ups and at their largest had seven members, while lead singer and songwriter Philip Oakley has stuck around for the duration. They have released nine studio albums and various greatest hits collections, and have amassed multiple Top 40 albums including a Number 1 with Dare. Their single Don’t You Want Me went to Number 1 in December 1981, staying there for five weeks and becoming the year’s Official Christmas Number 1.
With the passage of time, we have realized that Ladytron has been running for almost 20 years, and therefore they have stopped being that young Liverpool band that wanted to update the sound of synthetic pop – in the manner of mythical 80s groups as The Human League– to become something better: the great synth-pop formation of its time, beyond the revivals and tributes. Ladytron have baggage, trajectory, important albums and hits, and their concerts have become increasingly rich and solid. Tonight at Razzmatazz they will present their new album Ladytron, the sixth already, and one of the most inspired of their long life.
When times are hard for Britain, Sheffield produces brilliant electronic pop groups. The Human League in the 80s, Moloko in the early 90s… and now International Teachers of Pop, arriving ready for Brexit with a dazzling debut album and tour.
They first appeared last summer with minor-key synthpop epic Age of the Train, which they described as “Northern Rail-baiting nerd disco”. A sample of an automated station announcement (about a delay to the 13.21 to Manchester airport) graced the middle-eight, and other songs tackle modern life’s absurdities through similarly witty means. On Repeat is about the monotony of going to work in May’s Britain set to a Giorgio Moroder-style soundtrack. A Kraftwerk-like cover of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wallis, fittingly, called The Re-moaner Mix.
ITOP are Adrian Flanagan and Dean Honer (of Moonlandingz and theEccentronic Research Council), plus singer Leonore Wheatley, whose vocals give the music an iciness redolent of Ladytron. The album was written on analogue synthesisers and dusty drum machines, but the band have a shiny, contemporary vision.