WHEEL OF LOVE
ALBUM STRANGE WAYS RELEASE:
MAY 22, 2000 REVIEW: MAY 12, 2000
The sound of sweet eighties synthesizer melancholy can be irresistible at times. Certain sounds - the analogue bleeps courtesy of Vince Clarke or the strange, cold melodies of New Order - work like Proust's Madeleine cookies for me. Before I know it, I'm carried back to suburban childhood, kid's discos and way too much hair spray.
"Wheel of Love" is a bag of those particular cookies. Improperly named, New Concept make use of genuinely old concepts, drawing heavily on early Erasure and other British synthpop pioneers. The sounds are all hauntingly familiar and carry a feeling of longing about them. At first listen, it is both beautiful and sad and the emotional male vocals fit the mix just fine.
Unfortunately the second and third listens reveal problems beneath the perfect surface. Perhaps you shouldn't make a big fuss over terrible lyrics or the fact that a German singer has problems with English pronunciation. It's just that the surface is ruined when you know that there is nothing underneath but stupid clichés. Also, all the good songs are used up in the beginning, leaving only second-rate songs for the last part of the album.
Still, if you don't mind sweet nothings, this is a treasure of retro moments.