Record Review: That First Taste Of Soft Cell Courtesy Of Flexipop

Flexipop ‎| UK | Flexidisc | 1981 | Flexipop 12

Soft Cell/B. Movie: Metro Mr. X/Remembrance Day UK FLEXI [1981]

  1. Metro Mr. X [Soft Cell]
  2. Remembrance Day [B. Movie]

When I was a college freshman, I spent a lot of time in the library, soaking up exotic periodicals like Billboard Magazine, my teenaged bible. I recall hearing a lot of buzz about Soft Cell, whose import single, “Tainted Love” was making a lot of noise in clubland. I shopped a lot at Record City in their Colonial Drive location in Orlando, and they had decent import good for sale there. They also had UK music mags, and I’d notice Flexipop, which had an exclusive flexidisc with each issue, and their 12th issue was a must buy as it had a flexi single with a track by Soft Cell and a band I’d not heard of [yet] called B. Movie. I think I paid $3-4 for the magazine and was somewhat amused by its deliberately low-rent editorial bent, but really, I had bought it just to hear Soft Cell.

The song began with a cheap nasty drum machine hammering out the classic Krautrock motorik beat. Then singer Marc Almond joined in the song repeating “M…R…X!” in the intro. The lightweight tune was a Kinks-in-fetish-garb look at the straight businessmen that populated the city; filling in the daylight spaces while people like Marc were avoiding the light of day. It was a fun demo [produced by Daniel Miller] that gave me a real sense of who Soft Cell were in about two minutes.

“He’s my favorite mutant” – “Metro Mr. X”

Meanwhile, I was perhaps even more taken by the sampling of B. Movie’s durable “Remembrance Day” which was another of Stevo’s bands in the Some Bizzare stable of artists. This was more rock than pop and had a definite Ultravox feel with the portamento on the synth leads by Rick Holliday. The somber feel of the song was perfect for late 1981 and the period of peak New Romantic that was in the air. While it was some months before I saw any B. Movie records hanging around, I didn’t waste any time in purchasing Soft Cell’s “Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret” when it was released in The States in September of 1981. As for “Metro Mr. X,” he resurfaced in the new millennium in two places.

Some Bizzare | UK | CD | 2005 | SBZ046

Soft Cell: The Bedsit Tapes UK CD [2005]

  1. Potential
  2. L.O.V.E. Feeling
  3. Metro Mr X
  4. Bleak Is My Favourite Cliché
  5. Occupational Hazard
  6. Mix
  7. Factory Fun
  8. Science Fiction Stories
  9. Purely Functional
  10. A Cut Above The Rest
  11. Paranoid
  12. Excretory Eat Anorexia Nervosa
  13. Cleansing Fanatic
  14. Walking Make Up Counter
  15. Pyrex My Cuisine
  16. Tupperware Party

First of all in “The Bedsit Tapes” that Stevo issued in 2005 filled with Soft Cell demos. But it’ll cost you as it’s $40-60 in Discogs, currently. Then there’s the much better deal of the “Keychains + Snowstorms” boxed set of god® that the song also features in. I would not look askance if one of these crossed my path at the right price; albeit crucially, at the right time. And in these dark days, no time is the right time to outlay $100+ on a BSOG®. I’ve got to start prepping for the end times.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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2 Responses to Record Review: That First Taste Of Soft Cell Courtesy Of Flexipop

  1. slur says:

    I bought the Bedsit Tapes when they came out in the wake of the Soft Cell Reunion but it’s been not really worth it. Poor art, poor mastering just a quick cash in imho.
    The same with the ‘Non Stop Demo’ compilation, there have been bootlegs made by fans before which treated the material more lovingly.

    Of course I got the ‘Keychains & Snowstorms’ Set, even if it’s a bit too much too listen at once there are ca. 4 CD’s of otherwise unheard material plus all the live and video stuff which makes it worthwhile and both versions are there ………

    That said I fully agree that it’s one of the lost jewels of Soft Cell, just like ‘Science Fiction Stories’ which got a very late appreciation now on the final EP of 2018 re-recordings which came with the recent Book “only” (sadly edited to fit on the 7″ which even has a wrong mix of the Fad Gadget Cover Version on it) for now.

    Like

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