Author: Paul Lester / Source: Melody Maker / Published: 16th March 1991
In all ages men and women sing of love. Nowadays, though, the love that drips out of pop is too often a sickeningly benign force, a celebration of the spiritually and physically enriching properties that lie at the core of that four-letter word. Think of “Come Together”, “One Love”, “All Together Now” and all the other healthy fanfares for the common people. Whatever happened to spite, jealousy, anger, smashing milk bottles at three in the morning and marking state intersections down the double bed with invisible trip-wire — you know, all the good things about being in love?
Or, as The Supremes nearly once put it: Baby, Baby, Where Did The Hate Go? Which is where Claudia Brucken comes in. “Love” contains, according to the adverts, “10 intense love songs especially written for people who live intense love lives.” Talk about fear and loathing in Ladbroke Grove! Just look at the titles — “Suicide (Song For A Ghost)”, “Unforgivable”, “Fanatic (The Nail In My Soul)”; or listen to the words — “I knew you’d lose your temper”, “…blind with rage”, “Every day’s another crisis…” — for some idea of Claudia’s immersion in the ruinously complicated reality of big city relationships.
“Love” works like classic ABC and Heaven 17, or recent Pet Shop Boys and New Order stuff. That is, a thrilling tension is created by the frictional opposition of all this passion-playing with the icy hauteur of the most digitally precise electronic clicks and orchestral surges imaginable. “Absolut(e)”, “Suicide”, “Fanatic” and “Love: In Another World” use the still-priceless trick learned by disco in their creation of a boundary between musical form and lyrical content.
So, one minute you’re twisting to the Morodor-ised pneumatic drill-beats of “Fanatic”, the 21st Century Julie Andrews electro-vaudville swing of “Unforgivable” and the robotic Kylie impressions of “…Another World”, the next you’re sobbing into the nearest pillow at the exquisite anguish expressed in the words. Plastic angst, someone called this LP, the synthetic tears of android. Oh, bugger off back to your Otis Redding records, then.