For the first time since he left Depeche Mode in 1981, Vince Clarke has teamed up with the band's chief songwriter Martin Gore, this time for a new project, the aptly titled VCMG. Clarke left the synth-pop legends, presumably unhappy with the band taking their music in a darker direction, and it is no surprise. He went on to form Yazoo (aka Yaz) with Alison Moyet, but of course is best known as one half of the highly successful duo Erasure, an act whose music has always been a little too poppy and lightweight for me. I've always preferred bands like Pet Shop Boys and, yes, Depeche Mode when it comes to electronic pop music. As for Gore, the man wrote "Enjoy The Silence", do I have to say anymore?
Now Clarke and Gore are back working together again and "Ssss" is the kind of straight up, danceable, old school electronic album we just don't get enough of these days. Far from just minimalist, "Ssss" thumps from start to finish, an electric, buzzing gem for techno enthusiasts longing for something that brings back the good old days of the genre. Spare me the Skrillex level bombast, music like this is why I fell in love with EDM in the first place.
"Lowly" starts things off, burbling to life, before an insistent beat kicks in that doesn't let up the entire song. It's my favorite of a strong crop of tracks on "Ssss", along with the pulsing electro "Zaat", new single "Single Blip" and the wonderfully titled "Skip This Track", of which you should do anything but.
Hopefully it does not take these two over 30 years to work together again if the end result is going to be something as joyfully danceable as "Ssss". Just when I'm starting to feel down on the electronic music scene, an album like this comes along to get me back on the dance floor.
"Ssss" was released in the U.S. March 13, 2012 on the Mute label.