Album Details

Pop/Rock, Synth Pop, Contemporary Pop/Rock, New Wave, New Romantic, Dance-Rock, Punk/New Wave

Album Review

After creating a marvelous electronic debut, Glenn Gregory, Ian Marsh, and Martyn Ware decided to tamper with their winning formula a bit on Heaven 17's 1983 follow-up to Penthouse and Pavement. The result, which added piano, strings, and Earth, Wind, & Fire's horn section to the band's cool synthesizer pulse, was even better, and The Luxury Gap became one of the seminal albums of the British new wave. The best-known track remains "Let Me Go," a club hit that features Gregory's moody, dramatic lead above a percolating vocal and synth arrangement. But even better is the mechanized Motown of "Temptation," a deservedly huge British smash that got a shot of genuine soul from R&B singer Carol Kenyon. Nearly every song ends up a winner, though, as the album displays undreamed-of range. If beat-heavy techno anthems like "Crushed By the Wheels of Industry" were expected of Heaven 17, the melodic sophistication of "The Best Kept Secret" and "Lady Ice and Mr. Hex" -- both of which sound almost like show tunes -- wasn't. If there's a flaw, it's that while the band's leftist messages were more subtle and humorous than most of their time, they still seem rather naïve. But the music, which showed just how warm electro-pop's usually chilly grooves could be, is another matter entirely. [Note to collectors: there were differences in the original British and American pressings of the album. The 1997 reissue by Caroline follows the order of the British pressing, adding some extended remixes.]
Dan LeRoy, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Crushed by the Wheels of Industry
  2. Who'll Stop the Rain
  3. Let Me Go
  4. Key to the World
  5. Temptation
  6. Come Live with Me
  7. Lady Ice and Mr. Hex
  8. We Live So Fast
  9. The Best Kept Secret
  10. Let Me Go [Extended Mix][*]
  11. Temptation [Extended Mix][*]
  12. Crushed by the Wheels of Industry [Extended Dance Mix][*]