‘Hits And Pieces: The Best Of Marc Almond And Soft Cell’ reviewed

 From Tainted Love to A Kind Of Love, keep a little Marc in your heart with his new singles collection.

Marc Almond has recently signed his first large record deal in years, with Universal, and following the release of his 10-disc anthology Trials of Eyeliner at the end of 2016, has released a new collection of his single releases entitled Hits and Pieces. Starting with the worldwide chart classic Tainted Love and ending with new single A Kind of Love, it’s available in 1CD and 2CD formats and is his first greatest hits album since 1991’s Memorabilia.

The “hits” includes most of his singles such as Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart with Gene Pitney, the Jacques Brel/Scott Walker cover Jacky and the self-penned Say Hello Wave Goodbye, a traditional closing number of Marc Almond gigs these days, and of course Soft Cell’s cover of Gloria Jones’ Tainted Love, probably the song Marc is best known for.

The other songs included on the album which were not so popular with the record buying public – “the Pieces” – include some of his finest work, in my opinion: The single Out There has been replaced by the B-side of that release, namely Brilliant Creatures, an infectiously catchy song and a personal favourite; The Desperate Hours and A Lover Spurned, the former of which hovered outside the top 40 and the latter which reached number 29, are also welcome inclusions.

Notable omissions on the album include the utterly brilliant and poignant Only the Moment (my funeral song, if anyone’s interested) and Waifs and Strays, which, although didn’t get anywhere near the top 40 (it only reached number 88), is still a great song, and of which an excellent remix was made by The Grid, Dave Ball’s post-Soft Cell combo.

Another lost single is Mother Fist, which bombed, reaching only number 93 and leaving the charts altogether a week later, although the album from which it’s lifted is documented as a fan favourite. Indeed, Marc performed the album in its entirety at two special gigs last year to positive critique.

The album is to be accompanied by a short tour in the Spring, also under the Hits and Pieces banner, and it kicks off on 22 March at London’s Roundhouse, and will take in Perth, Buxton, York, and Warrington. There’s also a pre-tour warm up gig at Milton Keynes’ The Stables.

As it’s the year of Marc’s 60th birthday, rumour has it that there are other events in the pipeline, including a birthday gig at the Royal Albert Hall, a Soft Cell boxed set and a larger tour in the Autumn, all of which are as yet officially unconfirmed.

This career overview will please fans of the man and his work, as well as more casual fans who are intrigued to know what he’s been up to this past thirty years. This compilation is but the tip of the Marc Almond iceberg, and if you want to explore his work further, you should explore his albums to discover the richer fruit.

Hits And Pieces: The Best Of Marc Almond And Soft Cell’ (UMG) is released on 10 March 2017, available in 1CD and 2CD deluxe versions from the usual outlets.

❉ Ange Chan is a poet and novelist, and is a regular contributor to We Are Cult. She also regularly writes poetry for the Doctor Who Appreciation Society’s fanzine “Celestial Toyroom”. Her fourth poetry collection “Fame; What’s Your Name?” was published in paperback and ebook in 2016. Her second novel “Baby Can You Hear Me?” was also published in paperback and for Kindle. Her next novel is due to be published in 2017.

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