"Bigger Than America" - reviewed by Andrew Harrison

In the '80s, cashiered Human Leaguers Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh contributed to the demolition of Thatcherism by growing ponytails and recruiting Glenn Gregory to sing of credit cards, corporations and Kinnock. When their early, funk bass-laden success degenerated into despondent white soul, Marsh reskilled himself as producer to Terence Trent D'Arby and Erasure. Now, the '80s are back on the high street and so are Heaven 17. Melodically awkward and timid production-wise, Bigger Than America shows that electronic pop has passed them by in a big way. H17 can program a house beat as well as the next man, but they're thoroughly incapable of summoning up its elemental energy, and the window-dressing of generic digital pulsing merely draws attention to the listless anonymity of the songs. Most of them concern America's cultural and economic hegemony, which will interest anyone who doesn't read the papers. Others will want to refer Bigger Than America to industry regulatory body OFPOP.

Rating: 2