Visage: It’s Called “Never Enough” For A Reason

Blitz Club | UK | CD | 2013 | BZCR014

Blitz Club | UK |CD | 20143 | BZCR014

Visage: Never Enough UK CD [2013]

  1. Never Enough (John Bryan Widescreen Version) – 8:23
  2. Never Enough (Marc Mitchell Remix) – 5:38
  3. Never Enough (Bottin Edit) – 4:21
  4. Never Enough (Lasertom Version) – 6:33
  5. Never Enough (Album Version) – 4:04
  6. The Anvil (Live In Hoxton) – 5:06
  7. Never Enough (John Bryan Orchapella) – 10:22

I have been stunned for the last few days due to the arrival last week of the 3rd Visage CD single from their astonishing “Hearts + Knives” album. The singles from it have been mandatory, and as soon as I had sorted out my purchase budget, I ordered the “Never Enough” single that had been released in December, late last month. The band had typified the track as their “opening track that is the musical all guns blazing,” from the new album. And how. The first single was good enough to pique my interest, but once I heard the snippet of “Never Enough” I went beyond interest to full blown optimism that this new Visage album just might be surprisingly good. And how!

To call it my favorite track on the album is almost an affront to the scads of superlative material packed into the album like the gift from the gods that it is. That “Hearts + Knives” has handily become my favorite Visage album after the 33 years after the first two had to win my everlasting favor is a testament to the rare example of the new band’s seemingly bottomless well of talent and taste. With those caveats established, I had been sufficiently impressed with the caliber of remixes on the first two singles so that I was not worried about remixers destroying my new favorite Visage song. But what I could not have anticipated was just how successful these new mixes would be.

The single began with the John Bryan Widescreen Version courtesy of the co-producer and co-writer of much of the album.  John Bryan has crafted a stunning re-imagining of the album track that was absolutely given the most helpfully descriptive remix name in history. Bryan, along with Pete Winfield, has scored an orchestral version of the song that is flat out the most mind-bogglingly impressive and overwhelming musical remix I’ve heard in 30 years. Really. This is a remix of the caliber of the US mix of “Poison Arrow” or the “Dr. Mabuse [the 13th Life Mix].” Yes, I think it’s that great and Bryan has matched the achievements of Trevor Horn at his peak in my opinion! The addition of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra takes this amazing song to new, dramatic heights I’ve not heard since the heydays of Roxy Music ca. “Country Life” or Japan ca. “Quiet Life.”

But it doesn’t end with lush, emotive strings – sensitively arranged. Oh no. After a long acoustic orchestral intro, Bryan eases the superlative guitars of Robin Simon into the mix and fades up the full on band onslaught which sounds fully integrated with the string arrangements. And then he blew me away by using an alternative Simon take on a solo right up front that differed wonderfully from the LP mix. By the time that Steve Strange added a spoken verse [also not on the LP version] right before the killer middle eight with yet another new Robin Simon solo, I was slack-jawed at the magnificence of it all. This was an old-school remix to end them all. It would have been stunning in the context of 1982. In 2014 it was like a revelation of how compelling a remix can be at a time where I am clearing out tons of remixes by bands I like from my music collection. Not this one, though!

With the lead off remix so phantasmagorically brilliant, quite frankly, the rest of the single could have been dog meat, and I’d still want to buy dozens of copies to distribute myself to everyone I know! But the other tracks here serve to compliment the brilliance of Bryan’s remix with a varied and highly successful series of takes that re-imagine the song in a variety of other sounds and genres. Marc Mitchell has added a remix that ramped up the electro quotient of the song while eliminating all traces of rock [including Robin Simon] from the track. And he did it so amazingly well, that it absolutely bears being played following the Widescreen Version and it still disarms me with its brilliant musicality.

Mitchell kept the ideas flowing at a torrential pace throughout the mix with each verse and chorus having enough ideas for a dozen remixes. The aerosol synths. The vocoded backing vocals. The cheeky CR-78 sample from the 12″ mix of “Mind Of A Toy” intro used as a percussive hook. All of this was incredible. The last half of the song has a now propulsively loping morotik beat as it took on a whole new identity amid the shimmering synth/piano leads. This is thrilling work… but my lunch hour is over, and I’m just getting started with the brilliance of this single! So I’ll have to finish this tale tomorrow; same Monk Time, Same Monk URL.

Next: Wait… It gets better!

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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7 Responses to Visage: It’s Called “Never Enough” For A Reason

  1. Echorich says:

    I am totally with you Monk, Strange and Co. went into this album with something to prove, which they did in spades, but these remixes are the artful gloating that they deserve to do.


  2. Simon H says:

    Great review, order placed!


  3. burlveneer says:

    What a great song! It’s what Simple Minds could have sounded like if they’d kept their Sons and Fascination instrumental style into their arena-rock years. Thanks!

    (P.S.: My favorite Visage song has always been “The Horseman”.)


    • postpunkmonk says:

      burlveneer – Welcome to the comments! Invoking Simple Minds, eh? That’s a good way to get me started. I think if Simple Minds had honed their S+F instrumental style further there might not have been any arena-rock years. I was always sold on “Visage” and The Damned Don’t Cry” as my favorite Visage songs… until recently. It’s been strictly “Never Enough” since last summer.


  4. burlveneer says:

    Finally got this onto the radio–Eno & Hyde’s “The Satellites”, too. :)


    • postpunkmonk says:

      burlveneer – Bless you, my son! You are doing the ears of Delaware [and beyond] a courtesy beyond their wildest imaginings! Say, that EnoHyde was pre-ordered… when is it due?


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