Soft Cell - the U.K. synth-pop duo behind 80s' hits like "Tainted Love" and "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye" - have announced their first album of new material in 20 years.
*Happiness Not Included (purposefully stylized with an asterisk in the front of the title), will arrive next year, on February 25, 2022 via BMG. It was recorded amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a press statement, frontman Marc Almond said about the album:
“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.”
*Happiness Not Included is the follow-up to Soft Cell's last record with original material: 2002's Cruelty Without Beauty. The new album will contain 12 tracks. Producer/instrumentalist David Ball hailed the collection as "science fiction stories for the 21st century."
He explained the duo aren't trying to top charts with their new record.
"We haven't tried to write another 'Tainted Love.' Maybe we should!" David said, "But it'd be inappropriate for two 60-something men to try to write bouncy little pop numbers. That doesn't mean we've become miserable, and it's not heavy industrial music either. I'd say the songs are sounding quite minimal, melodic and bass-driven. I'm really pleased with how it's coming along, it's sounding great."
Soft Cell released the original song “Northern Lights” back in 2018, part of a compilation called The Singles - Keychains & Snowstorms. That project included another original song called “Guilty (‘Cos I Say You Are’),” and came alongside the retrospective box set Keychains & Snowstorms: The Soft Cell Story. Almond and Ball also played a show at The O2 in London that year, then seemingly went their separate ways. That changed with the pandemic, and Almond revealed the two were making music in the studio in April 2021.
Soft Cell also announced a brief U.K. tour happening this November. Songs from the new LP will be previewed on the tour, which will make stops in Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, and London. Tickets go on sale August 6 at 10am BST here.
*Happiness Not Included is available for pre-order here. The first single is expected this fall.
See the cover art below.
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Article Image: Marc Almond of Soft Cell singing at a concert in 2008. (shiver_shi [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons.)