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Sigue Sigue Sputnik - Flaunt It [Cherry Red Records - 2020]

Appearing in 1986 Flaunt It was the opening shot from Sigue Sigue Sputnik- and boy what an opening. The eight-track debut brought together elements of synth-ed up & futuristic pop-punk, sixteen-bit rock Ďní roll, and electro-pumped glam- all wrapped up in a tongue-in-cheek, though decidedly dystopian take on commercialism, modernism, &  the future. Here from Cherry Red is the ultimate four-CD edition of the album- bringing together B-sides, remixes, unreleased tracks, and live recordings.

The five-disc set is presented in a blue card slipcase- with each CD coming in its own card sleeve. We also get a twenty-four-page inlay booklet- this takes in a new four-page write up about the album, the band & their impact. A good selection of pictures & imagery relating to the project, a collage of all their magazine appearances from the time, and full credits.

The band started in 1982 & was the brainchild of bass player Tony James- formally of Generation X, the band that launched Bill Idol. He was joined by guitarists/backing vocalist Neal X, lead vocalist Martin Degville, Ray Mayhew on drums and second drummer Chris Kavanagh- whom was giving the gig due to his looks/ attitude, and was later taught how to play by the band. The five-piece played a few gigs & the interest started to grow, but the big leap forward was in 1984, ironic considering the band's dystopian imagery/ leanings, when James was interviewed by NME- which caused various major labels to go to the bands show at Londonís Electric Cinema, with a performance following soon on then-popular UK music show The Tube. Fairly soon they signed to EMI, and hype machine kicked in even more- with the band becoming a household name very quickly.

Released in July of 1986 Flaunt It was produced by legendry disco & electronic pioneer Giorgio Moroder. The original eight-track album was both punchy, bright & tacky- with fleeting-if-meaningful mockery of both commercialism, modernism, and the then political climate edged into the songs & blended within the bands sci-fi punk imagery.  Itís fair to say that the idea of the band is better than their sonic reality, as they were largely one-note with their pumped-up & future pop fired mix of punk, glam & rock Ďní roll- but there are moments of greatness here, and the whole decidedly tongue-in-cheek/ playful vibe to the whole thing. The album kicks off with the bands first single & probably their most known song "Love Missile F1-11-" which reached number 3 on the Uk chart. The songs a decidedly manic & darting blend of chugging punked-up synth,  locked electro beats, rock & roll guitar licks, effect altered & bounced future-glam vocals, and a ton of cheeky-to-futuristic samples. Next, we come to one of the more reserved moments ďAtari BabyĒ with itís building & dartingly bright synth melody, tick-tocking future pop ballad beats, sampled semi ethnic female harmonious, and wailing-to-crooning lead vocals. The remainder of the albums tracks really replay the group's electro choppy & rock Ďní roll guitar tipped sound with of course more samples & playfulness wound in- to various levels of success. Also adding in cheeky charm & commercialism mocking edge to the whole thing we also get a couple of adverts for Sigue Sigue Sputnik related production be it the Sputnik corporation and the band's computer game. You can certainly hear Moroderís touches & nudges through-out the record- but itís most certainly a one-off sound for better or worse. 
On the extras front on this first disc, we get four bonus tracks- two songs, and advert for EMI, and a twelve-minute interview/ montage regarding the band & their rise to fame.

Moving onto disc two and we have the remixes- this is twelve-track affair taking in fifty-three minutes of music. And what we get here are seven different mixes of "Love Missile F1-11", two of "Massive Retaliation", and two of "Sex Bomb Dance". As with all remixes go there are moments of effectiveness & clever enough reinvention on display- though as a fifty-three minute CD is all a bit too much to play in one sitting.

Disc number three takes in yet more remixes, rarities, and B sides. In all, we get nine tracks on this disc and forty-seven minutes of music. The disc moves from locked & chugging punk synth and effects stretched vocals/ guitars of ďHack AttackĒ, onto the synth rockabilly of ďBuy EMIĒ. We get an early version of a track, a live track- and five remixes.

The fourth and final disc here is a live recording of the band from December 1985 that was recorded in the legendary Abby Road Studios- this features seven tracks and forty-four minutes of music. And as youíd expect itís a much more raw, rough & ready take on the band sounds with swooping & at times colliding blend of RíníR guitar playing, choppy synth lines, lose & basic drums, and samples. Itís certainly interesting to hear the band in this context, and at points, we do get some great overloaded & pumped-up version of classic album tracks.

Love them or hate them, thereís no doubt Sigue Sigue Sputnik made their own distinct impact, which landed up reverberating both sonic & culturally for years to come. Itís great to see Cherry Red releasing this deluxe set, as until now the band & this debut album, has rather lacked the proper reprisal/ celebration they truly deserved.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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