“Here is how you’d hope the 21st century would sound. Mightily impressive.”

4.5/5 – Classic Pop
“Buoyed by an undimmed pop instinct and Almond’s waspish wit.”

4/5 – Uncut
“A band looking as much to its future as its past.”

“Masters of synth-pop.”

5/5 – Retro Pop

When Soft Cell played a spectacular, sold-out show before 20,000 fans at The O2 in September 2018, the London concert was seen by all and sundry as a grand finale. It had been billed as One Night: One Final Time, leaving devotees in no doubt that a duo who had done so much to define the sound of British electronic pop in the 1980s were saying hello to wave one last, emotional goodbye. At least that had been the idea. Singer Marc Almond and instrumentalist Dave Ball had originally gone their separate ways in 1984 before reuniting for two years in the early 2000s to make a new album, Cruelty Without Beauty. The intention at The O2 had been to draw a line under a rollercoaster ride that had seen Soft Cell secure three Top Ten albums and six Top Ten singles, including 1981’s all-conquering Tainted Love, while setting a template for synth acts from the Pet Shop Boys to Years & Years.

But such was the reaction – and the sense of purpose the pair rediscovered onstage – that the big adieu ultimately turned out to be a brilliant new dawn. The reality is that Marc and Dave bring the best out of one another as performers, both onstage and in the studio, and the sense that there was still plenty of mileage left in their partnership was inescapable. The latest fruits of a bond that was first forged in the art department of Leeds Polytechnic in 1977 were in the shape of a new studio album, *Happiness Not Included, and a series of live dates in the UK and the US that saw the band treat fans to a mixture of new material, classic hits and their 1981 debut album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, which was played in its entirety for the first time to mark its 40th anniversary.

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Born in Southport in 1957, Marc Almond is an internationally acclaimed music artist. He has sold over 30 million records worldwide and is an icon and influence to a generation of musicians.


David James Ball was born in Chester, England in 1958. Growing up in4 seaside resort Blackpool, Dave developed a wide appreciation of contemporary music, including a lifelong love of Northern Soul. Dave taught himself to play guitar, bass, and of course synthesiser, while fully absorbing the culture of the 1970’s music scene.